Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO - Juneau


Sen. Olson joins majority caucus

The Senate’s already large majority grew even bigger today. Senator Donny Olson joined the majority caucus. The move by the Golovin Democrat means that sixteen of the twenty senators are in the majority. Olson says he’s honored to join the majority and will lend a strong voice for rural Alaskans. Download Audio

Presidential race heads to Alaska in March

Alaska’s major parties will pick their candidates on different days. The Republicans will choose theirs on March 1st, also known as Super Tuesday. That’s because it’s the day that the largest number of delegates will be picked this year. Download Audio

House passes resolution to focus on budget

Lawmakers have talked about focusing on the state budget since their session began three weeks ago. But on Monday, they took action to make it official. The House passed a resolution that limits committees to working on bills that raise or spend state revenue. This new rule will remain in place until the House passes a budget. Download Audio

Public testimony: Keep state hands off of dividends

Alaskans don’t want to see large cuts to their annual Permanent Fund dividends. At least, that was the message most people delivered Thursday night about Gov. Bill Walker’s plan for the fund. Download Audio

Senate takes public testimony on Walker’s Permanent Fund bill

Alaskans get their first chance today to tell legislators what they think of the centerpiece of Gov. Bill Walker’s fiscal plan for the state.

Three pitches for closing state budget deficit with the Permanent Fund

Gov. Bill Walker has proposed using the Permanent Fund to pay for much of the state’s annual budget. But Walker isn’t alone in eyeing the $50 billion account. Lawmakers have introduced two other bills to pay for part of the budget using the fund. Download Audio

Retired workers file dental benefits suit

An association of retired state workers has filed a lawsuit saying state cuts to dental benefits violate the Alaska constitution. The Retired Public Employees of Alaska says changes in 2014 to optional dental, vision, audio and long-term-care insurance must be reversed. On Friday, the association filed the lawsuit against Department of Administration Commissioner Sheldon Fisher in Superior Court in Anchorage. Download Audio

State legislature considers easing use of anti-opioid drug.

Thirty-three Alaskans died from heroin overdoses last year, a dramatic increase from just five years ago, when only four people died. Another 54 Alaskans died of prescription pain-reliever overdoses in 2015. Some of those deaths may have been prevented through the use of an opioid antidote, which can rapidly reverse overdoses. There is a legislative effort to make it easier for overdose victims to get the life-saving drug Naloxone. Some doctors feel comfortable prescribing Naloxone. Others are wary of facing lawsuits related to drug overdoses.Download Audio

Corrections nominee aims to improve safety for intoxicated people who are detained

Last year, Dean Williams found many problems with the state Department of Corrections that contributed to the deaths of dozens in Alaska’s prisons and jails. Now he will be in position to do something about it. Gov. Bill Walker on Thursday nominated Williams to be corrections commissioner. Download Audio

New Medicaid reform committee strives for savings

As lawmakers look to trim the state’s budget shortfall, their attention is focusing on one of the biggest areas of the budget: Medicaid. Download Audio

Plans announced for new state Public Integrity Unit

Alaska Attorney General Craig Richards announced a plan for a new Public Integrity Unit aimed at improving trust in government. Download Audio

Gov. Walker on budget: ‘It’s time to fix the hole in the boat’

Governor Bill Walker called for the entire legislature to work together with him to close the state’s budget shortfall. The annual State of the State address last night reflected the state’s grave budget situation. Download Audio

State of the State: What do Alaskans want to hear?

Gov. Bill Walker is giving his State of the State address Thursday night. The state is facing tough times. Walker’s budget plan includes a reduction in the permanent fund dividend payments that Alaskans receive each year. What do Alaskans want to hear from the governor? Download Audio

Poll: Most Alaskans support state sales tax

Alaskans are increasingly concerned about the $3.5 billion state budget shortfall. And they’re interested in using both state spending cuts and new revenue to close the gap. That’s according to the Rasmuson Foundation’s Plan4Alaska which surveyed 800 Alaskans earlier this month. Download Audio