Alaska lawmakers failed Wednesday to override some $400 million in budget vetoes by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, as fewer legislators were present in Juneau than the 45 votes needed to reverse the governor.
A new fight is erupting in Juneau about spending on Alaska's public schools. It centers on whether Gov. Mike Dunleavy has the power to veto money state lawmakers set aside for schools last year, for the upcoming school year – a practice called "forward funding."
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.
Lawmakers may gavel out this evening after a week long stalemate on the budget.
Republican upstart Mike Dunleavy is heading to Juneau. Dunleavy's upset of incumbent Wasilla Senator Linda Menard has big implications for next year's legislature.
Matanuska Susitna Borough officials are saddened by Gatto’s passing. Patty Sullivan, now a spokesperson for the Borough and a former radio reporter who followed Gatto’s initial election campaigns, says he had a homespun sense of humor.
The legislature Tuesday approved all but one of the people appointed by the governor to serve on state boards and commissions. Members also had no opposition to the choice of Michael Gerraghty to be the state’s next Attorney General.
Rep. Carl Gatto died this morning. The Palmer Republican was battling prostate cancer and last week suffered kidney failure. His death was announced about 12:30 p.m. on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives. He was 74.
The House overnight approved the next steps necessary that could lead to an instate gas pipeline from the North Slope to Anchorage and South Central.
Tune in to KSKA Monday at 3:00 pm to hear Senator Mark Begich's annual address to the Alaska legislature. You can also watch live coverage on Gavel Alaska. Audio is also available here in MP3:
Senate Bill 53 passed Wednesday in the state Senate. It would re-establish the Alaska Commission on the Status of Women, which was combined with the Alaska Human Relations Commission in 1993 and then that body was zeroed out of the budget.
Tune in to KSKA Thursday (Feb. 23) at 3:00 pm to hear Senator Lisa Murkowski's annual address to the Alaska legislature. KSKA will also broadcast Senator Mark Begich and Alaska Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti's in the weeks ahead.
- Thursday Feb. 23 @ 3:00 pm - Senator Lisa Murkowski
- Wednesday Feb. 29 @ 3:00 pm - Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti
- Monday March 5 @ 3:00 pm - Senator Mark Begich
Oil and Gas taxes take the forefront at the legislature this week – but that’s not all on the menu for the next few days.
The Alaska Senate State Affairs committee heard testimony Tuesday on Senator Donny Olson’s bill to create an Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council. Annette Evans Smith, the President of the Alaska Native Heritage Center, says the time for action on keeping languages alive is now.
The Legislature got underway in Juneau Tuesday afternoon with the usual pomp and circumstance, joined by some serious hopes for major accomplishments members can point to 90 days from now.
Palin Decides Against Presidential Run, Municipal Election Results and Mayor Dan Sullivan’s Proposed Budget
Stories up for discussion this week are: Palin not running for president; Municipal elections results outside Anchorage; Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan's proposed budget for 2012; Alaska's oil and has tax report to legislature, soaring prison costs, State settles suit over rural schools, Alaska Native Corporation EyakTek corruption scheme, and John Katz steps down as head of the Governor's office in Washington. KSKA: Friday 10/7 at 2:00 pm & Sat 10/8 at 6:00 pm KAKM: Friday 10/7 at 7:30 pm & Sat 10/8 at 5:00 pm
State Legislative Committees today (Monday) began looking at the steps needed to cut back on the cost of prisons at the same time as maintaining a “tough-on-crime” reputation. The House and Senate Finance Subcommittees on Corrections heard of strategies in other states – most predominantly Texas, where state Representative Jerry Madden recalled how he was part of a bipartisan approach to prison reform.
The battle over the Pebble Mine in Southwest Alaska is extending to the Lower 48. This week US Senator Maria Cantwell, from Washington State, sent a letter to the head of the EPA urging her to – if necessary – consider using the Clean Water Act to stop the development of the mine. If the EPA uses its veto power over the mine before the permitting stage, it would be a first for the federal agency.
A dozen Alaska state legislators are heading to Norway. The senators and representatives are part of a trip organized by the Institute of the North, a nonprofit group founded by former Governor Wally Hickel to improve understanding of northern issues. F
Reports Monday of recent travel expenditures by legislators indicate that this current year is on track right now to costing about the same as most previous years’ travel – with one exception.
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