Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO - Juneau


New legislative leaders prepare to start work ahead of challenging session

Both houses of the legislature will have new leaders in January. Incoming Senate President Pete Kelly and House Speaker Bryce Edgmon both said they have positive feelings toward the other. But they lead very different caucuses that will likely have different priorities in the coming legislative session. Listen Now

Judge upholds Walker’s veto halving Permanent Fund dividends

Gov. Bill Walker’s veto of half of Permanent Fund dividend money will stand for now. A judge found Thursday that Walker had the authority to cut the money. Listen Now 

Walker names Anchorage lawyer as new chief of staff

Gov. Bill Walker named a new chief of staff Wednesday, bringing in Anchorage lawyer Scott Kendall to replace Jim Whitaker, effective Dec. 2. Listen Now 

Other states look to Alaska as model for insurance relief

Donald Trump’s election as president is expected to lead to major changes in the individual health insurance market. While states don’t know what those changes will be, some policy experts suggested before the election that other states follow Alaska’s lead in addressing rising prices. Listen Now

New House majority names slate of chairpersons

The new House majority will be taking a different approach to legislation next year. That became clear today, as the majority named the committee chairpersons who will guide the agenda. Listen Now

Alaska Legislative races hold few surprises

In the state Legislature, only two of the 50 seats up for election have likely changed party hands. Anchorage Republican Liz Vasquez lost House District 22 to independent Jason Grenn. Juneau Republican Cathy Munoz lost District 34 to Democrat Justin Parish.

Number of registered Alaska voters at all-time high

More Alaskans than ever are eligible to cast ballots this year, thanks to record-high voter registration. Listen Now

Walker: Prostate cancer diagnosis won’t impair ability to perform duties

Gov. Bill Walker announced today he’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Following his doctor’s advice, he will have surgery in December to remove it. Listen Now

Amendment would allow state bonds to back college loans

Alaskans are voting on whether to allow the state to issue debt to lower the interest students pay for college loans. Listen Now

Abortion ruling at center of justices’ retention battle

Voters will decide whether to keep two Alaska Supreme Court justices on Election Day. Alaska Family Action, which described itself as focused on advancing biblical principles, opposes retaining the judges. But advocates for keeping the judges said the group’s opposition to the judges could harm the state’s tradition of choosing and keeping judges based on merit. Listen Now

Lawmakers juggle ideas on alternatives to Walker’s PFD cut

Few citizens love the fact that Governor Bill Walker vetoed half the money for Permanent Fund dividends this year – including Walker. Walker said the PFD cut is necessary as part of a comprehensive fiscal plan he’d like the Legislature to adopt. Two senators would like to reverse the cut through different methods – a lawsuit and a new piece of legislation. Listen Now

Walker puts the brakes on issuing bonds to pay pensions

The state of Alaska won’t issue bonds to pay for public worker pensions – for now. Gov. Bill Walker pressed pause on the sale Tuesday of up to $3.3 billion dollars of pension obligation bonds after meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee. Listen Now

Anti-incumbent mood could threaten Republican-led House majority

When voters head to the polls on Nov. 8, they’ll decide who’s going to represent them in the state House and Senate. That will trigger the backroom talks that determine who will form the majority caucuses – and the legislature’s future direction. Listen Now

Q&A: Legislative aide lobbied for amendment that could benefit son in sex crime case

A legislative aide used his connections to try to affect a state law in a way that could benefit his son, who state prosecutors said sexually abused a 12-year-old girl when he was 18

Wielechowski, Kastner fight for votes in East Anchorage

For a decade, Democrat Bill Wielechowski has represented an East Anchorage Senate district where Republicans outnumber Democrats. He attributes part of his success to one of the oldest political activities: knocking on neighbors’ doors, one at a time. Listen Now

Legislators, candidates and party officials respond to campaign finance reports

Democratic and independent candidates critical of the majorities in the State Capitol have raised more in campaign donations than Republicans since the primary. Democratic leaders say the campaign reports filed Monday show that donors are rejecting how the Legislature approached the state budget this year. Listen Now

Pew report sees Alaska ahead of other states in its ‘sovereign wealth fund’

A national report says other states can learn from the example of the Alaska Permanent Fund as they seek to grow their own funds they’ve built from natural resource extraction. Listen Now

Walker administration looks to sell billions in bonds to pay for pensions

Standard & Poor’s announced Friday it expects to lower Alaska’s credit ratings if the state government sells bonds to pay for public-worker pensions. Listen Now

Judge reverses House District 40 primary, gives Nageak a two-vote edge

A judge on Thursday reversed the outcome of the Democratic primary for the House district that includes the North Slope and Northwest Arctic boroughs. Listen Now

Juneau access road proves to be point of contention among officials

Governor Bill Walker is facing a major decision on one of Alaska’s oldest and controversial megaproject ideas: whether to extend Juneau’s main road 28 miles closer to Haines and Skagway. Listen Now