Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Should E-Cigarette Vapors Be Treated Like Tobacco Smoke?

The Juneau Assembly is considering a ban on e-cigarette vapors in nearly all indoor public spaces. The local chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence led the push at an Assembly Committee meeting Monday. Kristin Cox, a naturopathic doctor and the council’s tobacco prevention program coordinator, argued that the new tobacco alternative is being marketed to youths and misrepresented as harmless. Download Audio

Details Sketchy on Expanded Deferred Action for Undocumented Immigrants

Now, some undocumented immigrants may be eligible for an expanded deferred action program announced last week by President Barack Obama. Download Audio

Rep. Don Young Marries on 82nd Birthday

Alaska Congressman Don Young tied the knot today, on his 82nd birthday. Young married 76-year-old Anne Garland Walton, a flight nurse from Fairbanks. She says his birthday cakes will never be the same. Download Audio:
An F-35 flies over Florida (U.S. Air Force photo)

Fairbanks strides closer to F-35 answer

The Air Force plan to station two squadrons of F-35s at Eielson Air Force Base cleared a milestone with the publication of the final environmental impact statement. It says the basing decision would not significantly harm Fairbanks air quality or harm wildlife, other than an increase of about 14 bird strikes per year. Download audio

State irked at feds’ new GPS survey method

At statehood, Alaska was promised more than 100 million acres of land. So far, the federal government has transferred just 65 percent of it. At the current pace, it will take another 20 years. Today, the federal Bureau of Land Management announced it’s imposing a new surveying method to speed things up. But the state is not happy about it. Listen Now

Alaska attorney general joins others arguing that redistricting can be too partisan

Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth joined a legal brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case Tuesday, arguing that redistricting shouldn’t favor one political party. Listen now

Bill would exempt utility companies from pesticide pollution

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists discovered “concerning levels” of the pesticide Penta in soils around power poles running through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Listen now

Yes, independents can run in Democratic primary, says Alaska Supreme Court

The decision would allow Gov. Bill Walker to run in the primary if he chooses to. It may affect some Republican primaries, too, for legislators the party doesn’t want on their ticket. Listen now

Sitka salmon fleet to Governor Walker: “Don’t sign a bad treaty”

Sitka’s salmon fishermen are worried about the state’s strategy for renegotiating the Pacific Salmon Treaty. That’s the document between the United States and Canada that allocates the king salmon harvest across borders and expires at the end of the year. Listen now

Walker defends record, challengers offer alternatives in Fairbanks governor candidate forum

Gov. Bill Walker and the two candidates who are running to unseat him pitched their ideas Tuesday on how to promote the state’s tourism industry. Listen now

Alaska rolls back air ambulance ‘membership plan’ regulations

Alaska is taking a step back from regulating the membership plans marketed by air ambulance providers. State regulators say it’ll cut unnecessary red tape. But consumer advocates aren’t thrilled.

Trump administration responds to criticism about continued work on Arctic drilling during shutdown

The Interior department has responded to questions from a Democratic Congressman about its continued work to advance oil development in Alaska during the partial government shutdown.

Budget cuts loom as governor, lawmakers eye full PFDs

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said Alaskans should receive permanent fund dividends of roughly $3,000 this year. But it won’t be easy for state lawmakers to agree on the dividend’s size.

Interior political giant Jack Coghill dies at 93

Former state lawmaker Jack Coghill died this morning at the age of 93.

Sitka senator opposes Dunleavy’s plan to sell new aquatics center

Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposes selling off a brand-new aquatics center in Sitka. But Sitka Sen. Bert Stedman opposes the idea: “They can sell the pool with me in it when they sell the governor’s mansion with him in it.”

Homer Rep. Vance apologizes after criticizing letters from high school students

A freshman House lawmaker took to social media to criticize Homer high schoolers that had written her office over proposed education cuts. Homer Rep. Sarah Vance has since apologized and taken down the video on her Facebook page.

Yukon Territory says the US is on the hook for Alaska Highway upgrades

The stretch of the Alaska Highway that connects the Interior to the panhandle is called Shakwak, or the Shakwak Highway. Parts of this vital link are degrading and the Yukon government says the United States should foot the bill.

Dunleavy says money set aside for Alaska schools is subject to veto. Lawmakers disagree.

A new fight is erupting in Juneau about spending on Alaska's public schools. It centers on whether Gov. Mike Dunleavy has the power to veto money state lawmakers set aside for schools last year, for the upcoming school year – a practice called "forward funding."

Lawmakers urge Dunleavy to engage B.C. over transboundary mining

State lawmakers from both the House and Senate are urging the Dunleavy administration to continue the state’s engagement with British Columbia over pollution threats from transboundary mining.

Attorney general says school funding plan is unconstitutional

A disagreement between the Legislature and Gov. Mike Dunleavy over school funding may be heading toward a constitutional showdown — one that could affect whether the state sends money to school districts.