Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Public Radio Network.

House chooses Neal Foster as temporary speaker, but there’s still no majority

Speaker Pro Tempore Neal Foster was able to swear in House appointee Sharon Jackson, but the legislative body still can’t form committees or start work on bills until a majority comes together.

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.

Tourism, courts, pensions, oil tax credits: Where Alaska Gov. Dunleavy wants to spend more cash

Dunleavy is proposing to increase spending on a handful of projects and programs. They represent some of the governor's core priorities, like public safety and criminal justice, along with non-negotiable obligations, like the system that pays pensions to retired teachers and other public employees.

Senior aide to Rep. Young lands BLM job

A long-time aide of Congressman Don Young has been selected to head the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska.

Lawmakers want to know more about economic impact of state budget proposal

Alaska lawmakers still face a lot of uncertainty as they decide how deeply to cut funding for government services and permanent fund dividends — or whether to reopen a debate on taxes.

Skagway mayoral election too close to call

The results of Tuesday’s special mayoral election in Skagway are too close to call.

Former Gov. Bill Walker lands at political ally’s law firm

Former Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has a new job. Walker, an attorney, has joined the law office formerly known as Brena, Bell and Clarkson -- now known as Brena, Bell and Walker, according to a document filed Friday in a federal case.

Wintergreens prepares to open the first marijuana lounge in Haines

Alaska is poised to become the first state to regulate cannabis cafes. The state’s Marijuana Control Board is now accepting applications for onsite consumption. That’s despite uncertainty stemming from recent board appointees by Governor Mike Dunleavy’s administration.

Alaska lawmakers approve vaccine program continuation

Lawmakers have voted to extend the Alaska Vaccine Assessment Program, which provides universal

Legal views conflict on Alaska school funding law

Lawyers for the Alaska Legislature and Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration offer contrasting views on whether a law enacted last year will fund schools next year — or whether a new bill is needed.

Alaska Supreme Court to weigh in on final unresolved House race

Kathryn Dodge, just one vote behind Bart LeBon in the race for House District 1, met Wednesday’s deadline to file with the Alaska Supreme Court — thus extending a protracted battle for control of the state House of Representatives.

Walker Continues To Fill Out Cabinet With Administration, Education Commissioners

Walker has named Sheldon Fisher head of Administration, and will keep Mike Hanley on as education commissioner. Download Audio

School Funding Programs Extended For A Year

A federal funding program key to Southeast school districts will remain in place for another year. An extension of the Secure Rural Schools Program is part of a recently passed transportation bill. The program has been a mainstay for districts in or near National Forests in and outside of Alaska.

Sen. Gardner: Lawmakers need committee to vet budget bills

Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner introduced legislation yesterday to create a permanent Ways and Means committee in the Senate. It's a companion to a bill introduced by Rep. Sam Kito, a Democrat from Juneau, in the House earlier this week. Download Audio

Alaska Native veterans to receive federal housing assistance

Three Alaska Native organizations are receiving federal funds to provide permanent housing to Native veterans at risk of homelessness.

Rep. Knopp leaves Republican caucus, seeks new bipartisan coalition

State Rep. Gary Knopp said a bipartisan coalition would act as a counterweight to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, while an all-Republican caucus wouldn’t.

Justice department pledges $10.5M in emergency funds for public safety

U.S. Attorney General William Barr declared a law enforcement emergency in Alaska on June 28. The announcement follows a visit to the state where he saw firsthand how many rural communities have little to no public safety.

Weed Warriors Seek To Stop Invasive Pests

Weed Whacking Warriors tackled invasive plants this weekend during an annual event sponsored by the Palmer Soil and Water Conservation District. KSKA's Ellen Lockyer went along with them on a search and destroy mission to eradicate non-native plants.

Gov. Dunleavy chooses new chief of staff, Babcock moved to policy advisor

Tuckerman Babcock stepped down to become a senior policy advisor. And former Senate President Ben Stevens will be the new chief of staff.

Homeless shelters and services to see reduced funding

With a state capital budget passed, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation said it will dole out checks to charities that have been trying to keep Alaskans off the streets. But those checks will only go so far.