Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Juneau goes to the polls to elect a new mayor

Juneau residents are hitting the polls on Tuesday to elect a new mayor. Two candidates are vying for the spot: Ken Koelsch and Karen Crane. The city decided to hold the $35,000 special election after the death of Mayor Greg Fisk. Fisk died of natural causes shortly after winning last year's election. The mayoral candidates have served on the Juneau Assembly before.

State Legislature Enters Third Week of Special Session

Dave Donaldson, APRN - Juneau Legislators are entering the third week of this year’s first special session without any foreseeable plan to settle the outstanding...

Joint Session to Address Marijuana Decriminalization As Municipalities Scramble to Regulate

Republican Senator Lesil McGuire of Anchorage has introduced the first large-scale bill regulating marijuana like alcohol in Alaska. The measure includes fine points that lawmakers, police, and the public need to adapt November's Ballot Measure 2 into a legal framework.

After Tense Lead-Up, Legislature Confirms Walker’s Cabinet

Most of the high-level appointments made it through with unanimous support. But Attorney General Craig Richards saw significant -- though not fatal -- pushback from the Legislature.

Nome Hopes to Tap into Nearby Natural Gas

The Nome city council wants to take advantage of natural gas in the Norton Sound. Facing high electric rates and unstable heating fuel prices, the council wants legislative support in renewing efforts to tap into gas just 25 miles off shore from Nome.

Ousted Military Affairs Official Returns As Senate Media Strategist

McHugh Pierre was asked in September to step down as deputy commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, as part of then-Gov. Sean Parnell's efforts to reform the Alaska National Guard. He has now been granted a contract to aid the Senate's Republican majority caucus in their communications with the press.

Kenai Groups Oppose Commercial Setnetting Ban

Two government bodies on the Kenai Peninsula have voted unanimously to oppose efforts to ban commercial setnetting in Cook Inlet. Download Audio

Legislature eyes limit on state government spending

Some state legislators want to write into law a new limit on how much the state can spend each year. But policy experts say it’s a difficult strategy to put into effect. And Alaska already has a limit – one that critics say hasn’t worked. Listen now

Obama Withdraws 9.8m Acres of Arctic Ocean

President Obama is withdrawing 9.8 million acres of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas from future oil and gas lease sales. Sen. Lisa Murkowski describes it as a gut punch to Alaska’s economy. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell says the withdrawals are limited to small areas of the Beaufort, a 25-mile buffer along the Chukchi Coast and the area around the Hanna Shoal. Download Audio

PILT: Local Municipal Officials Hope Congress Will Fund Federal-Aid Program

City and borough government officials here in Alaska are a bit on edge about Congress’s failure to provide funding for the PILT program, which helps local governments with a lot of federal land in their areas. The program is especially critical to smaller communities like Delta Junction. Download Audio

Lawmakers might have more control over the Permanent Fund than they think

One senator’s lawsuit over PFDs changed the way the Permanent Fund managers can use investment earnings. Listen now

BP, ConocoPhillips Abandon Alaska Gas Pipeline Project

Annie Feidt, APRN - Anchorage BP and Conoco Phillips are abandoning their joint effort to build a gas pipeline from Alaska's North Slope to the...

Lawmakers May Have to Test the Issue if No Agreement can be Reached with Governor

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage If lawmakers can’t come to an agreement with the Governor, former Attorney General John Havelock says they may...

Parnell Proposes to ‘Secure Alaska’s Future Initiative – Oil’

Despite his stance on the Coastal Management Program, Governor Sean Parnell outlined an ambitious program to get the state's economy moving at the annual meeting of the Resource Development Council in Anchorage on Tuesday.

Kohring Gets Public Defender In Case of Retrial

A federal judge has appointed a public defender in case the government decides to retry former Wasilla-area Republican State Representative Vic Kohring.

‘Violence Against Women Act’ Reauthorization Slows In Congress

A reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act has slowed in Congress. The House and Senate have passed their own versions of the bill, and if the two chambers want to reconcile the two bills, they’ll need to address issues of native sovereignty and tribal courts.

Lawmakers Make Tentative Deal On Education Bill

Negotiators from the State House and Senate have reached a deal on the governor’s education bill, and it includes a mix of permanent and one-time funding increases. Download Audio

Bethel strides toward renewable wind energy

Energy officials hope two newly constructed towers in Bethel will pave the way to reducing the city’s multi-million gallon dependence on diesel fuel. The Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, or AVEC, raised the towers to collect atmospheric data for future wind turbines.

Thieves who stole flags from Capitol turn themselves in

The three men who climbed the Alaska Capitol and stole the American and Alaska flags have turned themselves in to police.

UA President Pat Gamble Asks Regents To Review Retention Incentive

University of Alaska President Pat Gamble has requested the Board of Regents review a $320,000 retention incentive the board approved for him in June. Download Audio