Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Wasilla Fire Contained

A massive building fire in Wasilla is under control

New bill seeks to address conflicts of interest within Legislature

When Alaska legislators or their immediate family members financially benefit from bills, the lawmakers declare they have a conflict of interest. Listen now

Gov. Parnell Declares March 29 Vietnam Veteran’s Day

Governor Sean Parnell has signed legislation designating tomorrow, March 29th, Vietnam Veteran’s Day in honor of those who served more than 40 years ago in that conflict. Anchorage resident Ric Davidge is the national chairman for government affairs for Vietnam veterans in America. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army. He went to Vietnam in 1965 as a 19 year old medic. Download Audio

Vets, Lawmakers Irate over New VA ‘Choice’ Program

When the scandal erupted last year over long wait lists at the Phoenix VA, Alaska was found to have quite short wait times. The Alaska VA has for years been buying care for veterans outside the VA, from the private sector and the Native health care system. That’s the model Congress chose when it passed the Veterans Choice Act last year, aimed at solving the VA backlog in the Lower 48. But as the new Choice program spreads to Alaska, vets and providers say it’s undoing parts of the Alaska-grown system that have worked well.

Yup’ik Voters Give Ballot Translation Mixed Reviews

Alaska Native voters in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region of Western Alaska give the Yup’ik language primary ballot translations mixed reviews. All eight of the Yup’ik voters that KYUK talked with said they needed help understanding what they were voting on. Listen now:

Municipal sales tax could dive due to Walker’s PFD veto

Local governments in Alaska that charge a sales tax could have millions of dollars less in revenue this year. Listen now

New fee would sharply hike state fees for studded tires

A proposed bill would increase the fee Alaskans pay to the state when they buy studded tires by 1,500 percent. Listen now

Politically charged tweets posted from state account during debate

Two politically charged tweets were posted from the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Twitter account during the presidential debate on Monday.

Legislators Agree to Overhaul Marijuana Bill With Controversial “Defense” Provision

The provision offered a legal defense for anyone brought to court for possessing an ounce after decriminalization, which critics testified was confusing, cumbersome, and went against the will of voters.

As Medicaid funds dry up, Wrangell and other rural hospitals are still receiving payments for now

The state is running short on money for Medicaid. Until the next fiscal year starts in July, hospitals and other health-care providers won’t get paid for treating much of Alaska’s low-income population. But the state is trying to funnel what money is left to hospitals that could otherwise shut down. Listen now

In Kotzebue, revenue doubts loom as alcohol returns to the ballot

Since October 2011, the city-owned Kotzebue Package Store has been selling alcohol. Come October 4th, local voters will decide the fate of the store, when they’re asked if the city should ban alcohol sales all over again.

Thirteen Lawyers Vying To Replace Justice Carpeneti

Three Juneau residents are among the thirteen applicants to replace Justice Walter “Bud” Carpeneti on the Alaska Supreme Court. Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg, Assistant Attorney General Susan Cox and Administrative Law Judge Terry Thurbon have submitted their names to the Alaska Judicial Council for consideration. Ketchikan Superior Court Judge Trevor Stephens is the only other Southeast resident that applied.

Congressional Delegates Divided on Likelihood of Gas Pipeline

The dream of getting a gas pipeline to connect Alaska’s North Slope with the Lower 48 is an old one, and in recent years, it’s seemed closer than ever. But even as the company TransCanada works toward building a line, skepticism is mounting among some members of Alaska’s Congressional delegation that a project will happen any time soon, if at all.

Federal Fraud Charges Against Valley Dairy Co-Owner

A Wasilla woman is under federal indictment for fraud in connection with Valley Dairy, Inc., which did business as the now-defunct Matanuska Creamery.

Not All Happy With Fish Board Decisions

The state's fisheries board wrapped up two weeks of meetings on Upper Cook Inlet commercial and sports fisheries late last week. This session, management changes were approved for Kenai River early and late king runs, and for the central district sockeye management plan. Supporters of the changes say that the new regulations are expected to allow more salmon to pass through the inlet. But those opposed to the changes say that commercial driftnetters and setnetters will be hurt, and that they have suffered a disproportionate hit in fishing time and area.

Resources Committee Opens Hearings On Oil Tax Bill

The Senate Resources Committee late Friday afternoon opened a series of hearings on a bill changing the state’s oil tax regime. Revenue Commissioner Brian Butcher has been before the Committee explaining the oil production downturn that he says began about the time the legislature passed the current tax on company profits as worldwide oil prices began to increase.

Cannabis advocates wary of Dunleavy’s Marijuana Control Board appointments

Alaska’s marijuana industry and its advocates are concerned about Governor Mike Dunleavy’s appointment of two people to the Marijuana Control Board that the advocates say could slow or halt the industry’s growth and hamper the state’s ability to regulate it.

Miller’s Personnel Records Released

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller’s personnel records have been made public as of 4:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Miller said...

Federal Spending Bill Appropriates $100 Million for Missile Defense in Alaska

The federal omnibus spending bill that awaits President Obama’s signature contains $100 million for missile defense in Alaska. It's the only major funding for military construction work in Alaska this fiscal year. Download Audio

Obama announces global fishing enforcement, new sanctuaries

President Obama today unveiled a package of global initiatives aimed at cracking down on illegal fishing. He also announced two new marine sanctuaries, and they are not in Alaska. Download Audio