Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO - Juneau

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Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at akitchenman@alaskapublic.org.
A man in a shirt and tie poses for a photo against a blue background.

Conservative Wasilla Rep. Kurka launches bid for Alaska governor

In an announcement posted on social media, Rep. Christopher Kurka, R-Wasilla, criticized Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s health mandates issued early in the pandemic. 
A woman speaks into a microphone.

Bill would draw funds for Alaska schools from Permanent Fund earnings, along with PFD

For some lawmakers, the primary use of the Permanent Fund earnings is clear: to pay PFDs. But other lawmakers say the fund can help settle one of the state issues that it’s been debating even longer than the PFD: how to pay for public education.

Tensions over PFD fuel talks of a new constitutional convention. Alaskans will vote on whether that time has come.

Next year, Alaska voters will decide whether to hold a new constitutional convention. They’ve rejected similar questions over the past 50 years. But anger over the permanent fund dividend is fueling talk of overhauling the Alaska Constitution. 
A courtroom with a lawyer testifying

Alaska Supreme Court explains ruling on governor’s appointees

If the Alaska Legislature wants to reject a governor’s appointees, it will have to take a vote on them, the state Supreme Court said in an opinion issued on Friday. 
A map of alaska with different regions in different colors

Alaska Redistricting Board finishes work to adopt maps; opponents say courts could toss out portions

The board split over the final map. All three members who were appointed by Republican elected officials supported the map; the two who were not appointed by Republicans opposed the map’s adoption. 
Two men stand in front of a map of Alaska

Alaska Redistricting Board chooses final Senate map despite gerrymandering allegation

Two board members expressed concern that the voting strength of racial minorities would be weakened by combining the neighborhood with Eagle River.
A screen capture of a Zoom meeting. The main screen shows two men wearing masks.

A new Alaska Senate map takes shape with Eagle River gaining a senator

The board chose a Senate map for Anchorage drawn by board member Bethany Marcum, who was appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
A map of Anchorage is blocked off in different color chunks.

Alaska Redistricting Board chooses map that emphasizes compact districts in Anchorage

The Alaska Redistricting Board adopted a new map for the Alaska House of Representatives districts on Friday.  The board voted 4–1 in favor of the map.  The map is based on last year’s U.S. census. It...

Higher oil price could affect debate on Alaska’s long-term budget plan

Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, has been looking at a proposal that would rewrite the formula for setting Permanent Fund dividends, while also adding taxes. But with the recent price of oil raising state revenue, he said the case for taxes is harder to make. 

Fourth special session ends quietly for Alaska Legislature

The fourth special session this year ended quietly, with neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives meeting.
pipeline

Rise in oil prices could add $1.2B in state revenue for Alaska, preliminary forecast says

While the state forecast in March that oil would average $61 per barrel this year, the update forecasts it at $81.31.
people in wooden desks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives

Alaska Legislature breaks record for days in session, with frustration rising to the surface

The Alaska Legislature set a record on Thursday for the number of days that it’s been in session in a year — 212. But that doesn’t mean lawmakers have been in the Capitol lately. There’s an impasse on what changes should be made to balance the state’s budget in the long term. 
Two legislators in a room with masks on.

Letter asking for vote on second PFD payment reflects differences among Alaska Republican senators

The unusual letter to Senate Finance Committee co-chairs Bert Stedman and Click Bishop said “action must be taken” on Senate Bill 4001, requested by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
A piece of land juts into the water.

A redistricting proposal has left Homer neighbors feeling stranded, highlighting a complex process

Under the state’s redistricting process, one proposal would have residents of communities near Homer in the same legislative district as Kodiak, which is 140 miles away by water. It's drawing concerns from some Alaskans and highlights the challenges the board is up against.
A man in a blue suit stands up and talks to a group sitting in desks.

Alaska House members pitch PFD changes that aim to solve long-term budget problem

Under three of the proposals, dividends would be bigger than the checks Alaskans have gotten in recent years. But they would still be smaller than what Gov. Mike Dunleavy wants.
A ochre and white concrete building in a greay cloudy day

Alaska state senators differ on PFD path as committees fail to meet during first half of special session

Alaska state senators are split over Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s plans to change the dividend and how to pay for it. The fourth special session is halfway over, and while some House committees have met, none have met in the Senate.

Alaska lawmakers say they want compromise on PFD, but it’s unclear how they’ll get there

The Alaska Legislature didn’t hold a single meeting during the first week of the fourth special session.
Two f-35 fighter jets are parked in front of a beige aircraft control tower

Housing and schools are obstacles for Alaska military families, leaders say

Air Force Lt. Gen. David Krumm said the Air Force isn’t allowing service members to bring their families to Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks due to a lack of housing.
People look at maps hanging on a wall.

Alaskans continue to weigh in on proposed maps by Redistricting Board

Which Anchorage neighborhoods should share the same legislative districts was the focus of a hearing on Monday.

COVID testing requirements will return to Alaska Capitol amid recent surge

The updated policy requires those who work in the Capitol to be tested every four days and to isolate if they test positive.