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.

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