Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Public Radio Network.

J-1 Program Safe Until November

Changes to the J-1 Visa program were announced Friday by the State Department. While some changes take effect immediately, Alaska’s seafood processors- which rely heavily on the workforce the program provides- won’t be affected until November. It’s a relief for the processors and fishermen who are preparing for salmon season, but it’s not great news for local cannery workers in Kodiak who are struggling to make ends meet.

State Plans To Extend DoL Lease Despite Health Concerns

The state is negotiating a new lease for the Department of Labor building in Juneau, even as employees who work there continue to suffer ill health effects.

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.

Alaska LNG Gains Milestone With Export License

The federal Energy Department announced today it will license Liquified Natural Gas exports from Nikiski, even to countries that don't have a free trade agreement with the U.S. The authorization is conditional on winning final approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But Sen. Lisa Murkowski says it’s a big boon for the project to bring North Slope natural gas to market. Download Audio:

Former Juneau mayor Jamie Parsons dies at 74

Former Juneau mayor Jamie Parsons died Saturday in Washington state after more than a decade battling cancer. He was 74. Friends and former colleagues remember his sense of humor, his love of sports and his unfailing commitment to the capital city. Download Audio

Parnell Wins; Berkowitz Holds Big Lead

Governor Sean Parnell held off two Republican challengers and won his party's nomination in Tuesday's election. Parnell, who stepped into the job after Governor Sarah...

To Fund Lobbying Effort, Sex Worker Advocates Turns To Internet

Smart watches, movies, even potato salad -- all these things have found success with crowdfunding. Now Terra Burns wants to see if Internet users will pay for her to travel to Juneau and advocate on behalf of sex workers.

Legislative veteran Max Gruenberg dies in Juneau

Longtime Representative Max Gruenberg died Sunday in Juneau. The Anchorage Democrat was 72. Download Audio

Alaska Gov. Dunleavy picks Rep. Josh Revak in second bid to fill Senate seat

Rep. Josh Revak was selected after Senate Republicans, in a tie vote, failed to approve Anchorage GOP Rep. Laddie Shaw.

U.S. Senate Republican Candidates Debate Addresses Resource Development, Government Overreach

All three candidates vying for the Republican nomination in August's senatorial primary election squared off over a variety of issues in Anchorage on Thursday. Download Audio

Legislature’s Per Diem Expenses Approach $200K

Some rank-and-file members collected per diem while the Legislature was meeting in near their districts. Sen. Lesil McGuire collected more than $7,300, and Sen. Cathy Giessel received $5,000.

As Stock flies non-partisan banner, bits of blue show through

Fifteen candidates are running for Lisa Murkowski’s U.S. Senate seat. Only one Murkowski challenger, though, has already raised a sizable war chest: Anchorage attorney Margaret Stock. While Democrats recruited Stock to run, Stock insists she’s no Democrat. Download Audio

Records show federal government, tasked with rewriting Tongass rules, also funded Alaska timber group

The State of Alaska was granted millions of dollars in federal funds to help facilitate dialogue about potential changes to the Roadless Rule. Some of that money went to timber industry groups — and environmentalists say that's not fair.

Bill seeks to rein in state employees’ wages until oil prices rise

State workers wouldn’t see pay hikes based on experience until oil prices rise sharply, under a bill introduced Monday in the House. Download Audio

Sen. Sullivan calls out neo-Nazis; Critics abound

Sen. Dan Sullivan issued a strongly worded statement that singled out the alt-right and their allies. On Facebook, some thanked Sullivan. But quite a few defended the White supremacists, or complained he should have allotted equal blame to the left. Listen now

Former State Senator John Cowdery Dies

Former state Senator John Cowdery of Anchorage is dead. Cowdery was first elected to the legislature in 1982.

IG clears EPA of bias on Pebble but finds fault with staffer

The EPA's inspector general has concluded the EPA did not treat the Pebble project unfairly when it issued a controversial document detrimental to the mine.

Federal Agency Says Halibut Catch Sharing Plan Needs More Input

A federal agency wants the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to provide more input before implementing a controversial catch sharing plan for halibut in Southeast Alaska and the central Gulf.

Olson jumps to GOP caucus for budgetary reasons

The Senate Majority got a little bit bigger last week when Democrat Donny Olson announced his move from the minority. Born in Nome, Senator Olson represents all of northwest Alaska. He says concerns about budget cuts convinced him to switch over.