Juneau’s Democrat delegation to the Alaska State Capitol is hosting a question and answer session with their constituents, right now. There is standing room only in a conference room at the Mendenhall Valley Library. Most questions being asked show concern for Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget cuts and other policies.
Rep. Sara Hannan told the crowd at she is not sure how the math would ever work out, regarding the governor’s budget proposals.
“We are waiting for some reality to sink in,” Hannan said. She wondered aloud how the Glenn Highway could stay open if billions of dollars are cut from the operating budget. She questioned whether the highway could be plowed enough in the winter.
— Kevin Baird
The Dunleavy administration announced 16 new appointments to various boards and commissions Tuesday afternoon. There’s only one person from Juneau on the list: PeggyAnn McConnochie was reappointed to the state’s Real Estate Commission, to a term running from March 1 to March 1, 2021.
Along with McConnochie are Margaret Nelson of Anchorage, Jesse Sumner of Wasilla, Jamie Matthews of Glennallen, Cheryl Markwood of Fairbanks and Michael Tavoliero of Eagle River.
Anchorage resident Suzanne Hancock was appointed to the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC). To the Board of Dental Examiners, Dunleavy appointed Dr. Jesse Hronkin of Wasilla, Dr. Timothy “Jon” Woller of Fairbanks, Dr. Kelly Lucas of Wasilla and Brittany Dschaak of Dillingham. Dr. David Nielson of Anchorage was reappointed to the board.
Soldotna Dr. Brad Cross was appointed to the Board of Examiners in Optometry. Dr. Noah Shields of Kenai landed on the Board of Marital and Family Therapy. Emmonak resident Marilyn Charles was appointed to the Fisherman’s Fund Advisory and Appeals Council. Dan Sullivan of Anchorage was appointed to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.
— Alex McCarthy
Rep. Dave Talerico did not get to break the news he had hoped to share during a press conference this afternoon in the Alaska State Capitol. The Healy Republican had no update on House leadership and organization. He said members of the House are “still talking quite a bit,” though.
“The most important thing is we’re still communicating,” Talerico said.
Today marks the 15th day of the 31st Legislative Session, and the House remains unorganized, which is a week shy of the record of 22 days without House leadership back in 1981. The House cannot conduct business without House leadership in place.
Even though representatives have been going home and elsewhere in the state during the weekends, Talerico said the lines of communication remain open between representatives, and they are still working on this.
When asked when he would hit the panic button, in regards to House organization, Talerico said he hit it in December.
Read the full story here: Reps talking, but House still unsettled
— Kevin Baird
Here’s a list of exactly how much the governor proposes cutting from each school district in Alaska that was approved by legislators in May 2018, according to the Department of Education and Early Development:
— Mollie Barnes
Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin and Budget Director Lacey Sanders presented a walkthrough of the fiscal year 2019 supplemental budget that was released yesterday.
One main topic of discussion was a section of the budget proposal that would take away $20 million in one-time funding that was appropriated to K-12 education across the state in legislature last year.
Arduin stated that this funding, although approved through legislation, has not actually been distributed to schools.
But Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, pointed out at the meeting, many school districts already have the money prioritized.
“You should be talking to the school districts first,” Bishop said.
Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, also asked if the governor’s office had asked school districts whether they’re being caught by surprise.
Yesterday, Juneau School District Supt. Bridget Weiss told the Empire in an interview that this would most definitely take them by surprise, as they approved their budget for the 2018-2019 school year last year with the expected revenue that was promised by the state as a part of this $20 million appropriation.
Read the full story: Senators voice concerns with Dunleavy’s proposed cuts to education, village officers