Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO - Juneau


Attorney general says school funding plan is unconstitutional

A disagreement between the Legislature and Gov. Mike Dunleavy over school funding may be heading toward a constitutional showdown — one that could affect whether the state sends money to school districts.

House passes sweeping crime bill

House Bill 49 would mark the third time the Legislature changed major provisions of the controversial criminal justice law known as Senate Bill 91.

Here are the five biggest issues to be resolved on Alaska’s state budget

The budget conference committee is aiming to finish its work in time for the House and Senate to pass the budget by the scheduled end of the session on May 15.

Constitutional delegate Vic Fischer opposes Dunleavy’s amendment proposals

Vic Fischer spoke to the House State Affairs Committee Tuesday, two days after his 95th birthday. He contrasted the state constitution’s language with the proposed amendments.

House committees take different approach on crime bills

House members have brought different ideas on addressing crime to the House Judiciary and House Finance committees.

Senate bill to change PFD formula advances

Senate Bill 103 would split the annual draw from permanent fund earnings evenly between dividends and state government.

State ends Wellpath contract to run psychiatric institute, could open up contract for bids

The company will continue to work at the facility through December. The state also has hired a contractor to study whether it makes sense to privatize API.

Lawmakers strike compromise on scaling back conflict of interest restrictions

The Senate passed an earlier version of the bill, which would have repealed the conflict of interest provisions entirely. The House passed its own version. A conference committee agreed on the compromise Monday.

Legislators reject six Dunleavy appointees to boards and commissions

The Alaska Legislature confirmed 82 other members to state boards and commissions during a joint session.

Alaska Legislature confirms all of Dunleavy’s commissioners

The closest votes were for Public Safety Commissioner Amanda Price and Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum.

Cost to move Legislature could be up to $45M if state builds office, analysts find

The first-year cost is closer to $3 million if the state rents office space instead of building new facilities, analysts find.

Bill would shift Medicaid recipients to private insurance market

Under a measure backed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Medicaid would pay the insurance premiums for the people who are shifted over to the private health insurance market.

House sends budget with spending cuts to Senate, without setting PFDs

The Alaska House passed a budget on Thursday that includes $257 million in cuts to the portion of the state budget the Legislature directly controls.

Senators weigh splitting permanent fund draw between state and dividends — and limiting spending

Sen. Natasha von Imhof says the combination of splitting the Alaska Permanent Fund draw and limiting spending would allow PFDs to grow over time.

Dunleavy calls for action on constitutional amendments, crime bills

Gov. Mike Dunleavy said state lawmakers aren’t moving fast enough to pass his big priorities this session. That’s not just an idle threat — Dunleavy has constitutional powers he can use to force lawmakers into action.

House Finance budget includes cuts, but less than the governor’s

The Alaska House Finance Committee has proposed a budget that reduces state spending by $314 million, less than a third of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed cut of $1.03 billion. The committee finished its work on Friday, proposing cuts that are much greater than those proposed by House subcommittees.

Lawmakers seek competitive contract to run psychiatric institute

Rep. Ivy Spohnholz said the department didn’t provide enough information to Chief Procurement Officer Jason Soza for him to be able to adequately review the contract, which would pay Wellpath $225 million over five years.

Lawmakers amend budget to stop reimbursing municipalities for school bond debt

The House Finance Committee voted Wednesday for an amendment that would stop the state from reimbursing municipalities for existing school bond debt.

Alaska aims to be first state receiving federal Medicaid funding as a block grant

Gov. Mike Dunleavy told President Donald Trump in a letter dated March 1 that top federal Medicaid official Seema Verma has urged Alaska to be the first state to receive Medicaid dollars as a block grant.

Bill would extend moratorium on state reimbursing municipalities for school bonds

The state stopped covering 60%-70% of new school bonds beginning in 2015. This moratorium is scheduled to end next year; North Pole Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson has sponsored a bill to keep the moratorium in place.