Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Don’t count on oil to bail out Alaska’s budget soon, says unpublished state tax memo

The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska is a hot area for oil development right now. But don’t count on new production there to bail out the state budget any time soon. That’s the takeaway from a previously unpublished, two-month-old analysis drafted by former independent Gov. Bill Walker’s administration.

State privatizes API management with no-bid contract

The State of Alaska is privatizing the management of Alaska's only psychiatric hospital via a no-bid contract with Wellpath Recovery Solutions, an international corporation that manages state mental facilities and prison health care programs.

Alaska GOP Gov. Dunleavy seeks to oust Democratic chair of oil and gas watchdog agency

A two-page letter from Dunleavy last month charges French with “neglect of duty and misconduct,” and levies five charges to justify the governor’s bid to remove French from chairmainship of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Education commissioner says it’s time to review school funding formula

State Education Commissioner Michael Johnson also told lawmakers Wednesday that he didn’t consult with school districts before the Dunleavy administration proposed a $20 million cut to education funding.

State of the Union gets warm reception from Alaska delegation

Alaska’s all-Republican delegation to Congress praised President Trump for delivering a positive message in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

US House dems push climate change into spotlight

The House hasn't paid much attention to climate change in nearly a decade. That streak came to an end Wednesday with two simultaneous hearings. Democrats are showing that things are different now that they hold the gavels.

House holds meeting on Alaska’s struggling ferry system

Lawmakers in the Alaska House of Representatives called an informal hearing on the state of the state’s ferry system.

Dunleavy’s Fish and Game nominee vows tough stance against federal agencies

The governor’s pick to lead the Alaska Department of Fish and Game told lawmakers he’d push back against federal agencies that interfere with Alaskans’ right to hunt and fish.

House members talk about sharing power as speaker nomination fails

While no action occurred in the House, the Senate Finance subcommittees began meeting in preparation for the budget.

Credit rating agencies watch as Alaska pivots toward a new budget

Right now, there’s a plan in place that kept the state’s credit outlook stable. But there a new governor, and his administration has a new plan for the state’s budget.

Trump’s pick for Interior secretary has worked for Alaska and energy industry

President Trump has nominated David Bernhardt to be the next secretary of Interior, to replace Ryan Zinke.

Calls for ‘vigilance’ on Russian military buildup in Arctic

Russia's Arctic ambitions worry regional experts. So do the lack of ambitions on the part of the United States.

Governor’s mid-year budget bill cuts VPSO recruitment funds

Governor Mike Dunleavy has proposed pulling back $3 million in unspent money for the VPSO program to help pay for larger Permanent Fund Dividends, among other items.

After scathing audit, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority says fixes are underway

Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority CEO Mike Abbott fielded questions from lawmakers during a Senate Finance Committee in Juneau Thursday.

Trump Administration approves money for earthquake recovery

The move will potentially unlock funds to reimburse for repairs to damaged public infrastructure, schools, as well as individual homeowners.

Murkowski reintroduces bill to prevent violence against Indigenous women and girls

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has reintroduced Savanna’s Act, which would improve data collection on missing and murdered Native women and require federal agencies to consult with tribes.

Dunleavy proposes constitutional amendments to enshrine PFDs, require public support for taxes, cap spending

The proposed amendments may face a difficult reception in the Alaska Legislature. One Republican senator described Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposals as “a horrible idea.”

Pebble boosts spending to lobby feds

Washington, D.C. firms report Pebble paid them $1.2 million to lobby Congress and the executive branch in 2018.

Schools push back on proposed midyear budget cut

While school districts may have already spent money they counted on the state sending them later, the state’s new budget director says they shouldn’t have.

‘Uber for icebreakers’ idea gains traction

Money for a new polar icebreaker is caught up in the fight over whether to build a wall at the southern border. But there’s more than one way to break ice.