Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Public Radio Network.

The Robert B. Atwood building and neighbors in downtown Anchorage.

Evolving COVID policies for state, Anchorage workforces leave public employees anxious

State workers are worried about catching the virus in offices with unmasked colleagues, while the Anchorage Police Department is allowing unvaccinated officers to return to work after a COVID-19 exposure — as long as they wear N95 masks and social distance when possible.
Woman with blonde hair in a purple dress stands at a podium

Prosecutors vet US Senate candidate’s fishing license case

Law enforcement officials have completed their investigation into whether a U.S. Senate candidate and former State of Alaska official illegally obtained a fishing license for a sportfishing event two years ago. They have turned it over to a special prosecutorial branch of the Department of Law, an official said Thursday.
An aerial view of one of the exploration pads and wells that ConocoPhillips drilled during the 2018 exploration season at its Willow prospect.

Federal judge reverses Trump environmental approval for major Alaska oil project

The Willow project, if it's built, could produce 160,000 barrels of oil a day — roughly a third of Alaska's current total production. But the judge faulted the Trump administration's analysis of the project's potential greenhouse gas pollution and effects on polar bears.
A white person in a suit speaks from a podium

Dunleavy’s per diem veto over PFD situation raises concerns for Legislature

Some lawmakers say Gov. Mike Dunleavy's veto of nearly $300 per day of living expenses for legislators over a PFD fight sets a dangerous precedent that could limit the number of Alaskans who could afford to be legislators.

Alaska lawmakers voted to avert a shutdown this week, but it almost didn’t happen

And legislators have said successful communication will be important this summer. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has charged the Legislature with coming up with a long-term solution for the state budget. But the vote on the shutdown didn’t go smoothly. It almost didn’t happen.

Alaska House passes budget, $525 dividends, but leaves important programs in doubt

The Alaska House late Tuesday passed a state budget that would result in a $525 dividend to residents this year and leave in doubt funding for a number of programs and infrastructure projects after it failed to garner sufficient support on a key vote.
A white man with white hair sits at a desk and speaks

Credit rating agencies see improved outlook for Alaska, but note risks from budget uncertainty

As Alaska lawmakers decide what to do about the budget, one group that’s keeping an eye on the outcome are the agencies that rate the state’s ability to pay off its debts. And they say Alaska's rating is actually showing positive signs.

Email records: Little contact between Alaska Gov. Dunleavy’s former aide and oil company that hired him

Interest groups and some Alaska lawmakers have been scrutinizing Stevens’ move from state service to the private sector, saying the quick transition between them raises questions about whether Stevens is complying with state ethics laws.

This year’s Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends would be $1,100 under budget compromise

This year’s permanent fund dividend would be $1,100 under a compromise budget proposal that the Legislature will vote on this week.
A ochre and white concrete building in a greay cloudy day

It’s masks off at the Alaska Capitol — but the public is still barred

The ban is keeping out summer tourists, forcing lobbyists to do business by Zoom and stopping Alaskans from witnessing key committee meetings and floor sessions in-person.
A white woman with a turquoise scarf speaks into a microphone frmo a desk.

Mat-Su senator introduces bill to bar transgender girls from school sports

An advocate for transgender rights called the bill "horrific".
A man stands up from jis desk speaking into the microphone

House passes budget, leaving potential gap from federal relief rules

The budget includes most of what Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed for state agencies. But it doesn’t include funding for permanent fund dividends.
A woman in a blue surgical mask speaks on a microphone

Alaska House bill would fund schools ahead of time, prevent pink slips

House Bill 169 would fund education ahead of the rest of the state budget, to avoid teachers and other school staff receiving layoff notices next month. This happens when the Legislature goes deep into May without passing a budget, triggering notices required under teachers’ contracts.
woman in mask and red blazer seated at a table

With help from Alaska’s Murkowski, Vanita Gupta is confirmed as associate attorney general

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"I am going to give the benefit of the doubt to a woman who I believe has demonstrated throughout her professional career to be deeply, deeply committed to matters of justice," Murkowski said.
A white man with a mustache speaks while sitting at table

Senators unveil bill to extend, limit Alaska disaster declaration as deadline for food aid looms

Some Alaska state senators are aiming to pass a bill that would extend Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s disaster declaration, but with more limited powers than were in place until mid-February in order to continue providing food aid and assist in other COVID-19 response areas.

Alaska legislators apologize after breaking COVID rules by bringing friends for ping-pong, basketball at Capitol gym

Members of the public who are barred from the state Capitol complex due to pandemic safety rules attended a social gathering with legislators in a complex building last week.
Woman with blonde hair in a purple dress stands at a podium

Tshibaka resigns from Dunleavy administration and announces run for Murkowski’s US Senate seat

Kelly Tshibaka, who has led the sprawling Alaska Department of Administration since early 2019, in a statement said she is running “for the Alaskans who believe government is of the people, by the people and for the people. The D.C. insiders need to be held accountable to us.”
A committee room with a wood desks all around

New attorney general targets Alaska’s high rate of sex crimes at confirmation hearing

During his confirmation hearing on Monday, Treg Taylor said his first priority as Alaska’s attorney general is to end the state’s position as the worst for sex crimes.
man at a desk before a microphone with his nose visible over the top of his mask

‘Let’s end this charade,’ Wasilla lawmaker says, removing his mask on the House floor

State Rep. Christopher Kurka of Wasilla left a House floor session on Monday morning after taking off his facemask.

Alaska Senate president has new view of COVID-19 threat after senior aide is hospitalized

A senior aide to Alaska Senate President Peter Micciche has been hospitalized with COVID-19. Micciche said the illness has given him a new perspective on the threat the disease poses to the people working in the Capitol.