Alaska Legislature

Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

 

Climate activists hold a rally outside the Alaska State Capitol Friday afternoon in advocacy for legislative action to improve Alaska’s renewable energy development and future sustainability. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Climate activists hold rally near the Capitol

Statewide organizations advocate for legislative action

 

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Daniel Winfree gets a standing ovation from the Alaska State Legislature as he enters the House chamber Wednesday to deliver his final State of the Judiciary speech. Winfree is stepping down next Monday when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Chief justice bids lawmakers a fervent farewell

Daniel Winfree, in State of Judiciary days before retirement, warns about mixing politics and courts

 

State Senators Löki Tobin, D-Anchorage, right, who chairs the Senate Education Committee and Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, discuss a bill proposing a nearly 17% increase in per-student education funding Wednesday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

17% boost in school funding sought by state Senate

Proposal would increase $5,960 per-student allocation by $1,000; first major change since 2017

State Senators Löki Tobin, D-Anchorage, right, who chairs the Senate Education Committee and Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, discuss a bill proposing a nearly 17% increase in per-student education funding Wednesday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
This combination image shows former Alaska Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin, left, and current director Neil Steininger presents portions of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budgets at the start of his first and second terms in 2019 and 2023, respectively. The two represent vastly different approaches the governor has taken in interacting with legislators at the start of those two terms. 
Michael Penn and Mark 
Sabbatini / Juneau Empire

A tale of two terms

Lawmakers say governor’s appointments, agenda vastly less confrontational this time.

This combination image shows former Alaska Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin, left, and current director Neil Steininger presents portions of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budgets at the start of his first and second terms in 2019 and 2023, respectively. The two represent vastly different approaches the governor has taken in interacting with legislators at the start of those two terms. 
Michael Penn and Mark 
Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Juneau’s municipal and state legislative members, their staff, and city lobbyists gather in the Assembly chambers Thursday meeting for an overview of how the Alaska State Legislature and politicians in Washington, D.C., are affecting local issues.
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Juneau’s municipal and state legislative members, their staff, and city lobbyists gather in the Assembly chambers Thursday meeting for an overview of how the Alaska State Legislature and politicians in Washington, D.C., are affecting local issues.
Alaska Department of Health Commissioner Heidi Hedberg explains why there is a major backlog of food stamp and Medicaid applications to the Senate Health And Resources Committee on Tuesday at the Alaska State Capitol. Part of the reason, shown on the slide during her presentation, is a computer system that uses 1959 technology and only one employee is currently qualified to program. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Food stamp, Medicaid backlogs still loom large

State lawmakers conduct first hearing into state’s struggles processing public assistance applicants.

Alaska Department of Health Commissioner Heidi Hedberg explains why there is a major backlog of food stamp and Medicaid applications to the Senate Health And Resources Committee on Tuesday at the Alaska State Capitol. Part of the reason, shown on the slide during her presentation, is a computer system that uses 1959 technology and only one employee is currently qualified to program. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A student holds a sign during a rally at the steps of the Alaska State Capitol Monday evening in advocacy for an increase in the state’s flat funding via the Base Student Allocation. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
A student holds a sign during a rally at the steps of the Alaska State Capitol Monday evening in advocacy for an increase in the state’s flat funding via the Base Student Allocation. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Gov. Mike Dunleavy addresses state lawmakers and guests attending his State of the State speech Monday night before a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature at the Alaska State Capitol. The 50-minute speech was praised by many legislators are more positive and less confrontational than his first address four years ago. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Dunleavy urges cooperation to change course of state’s history

War on fentanyl, resilient Alaskans and “most pro-life-state” vow among State of the State highlights.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy addresses state lawmakers and guests attending his State of the State speech Monday night before a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature at the Alaska State Capitol. The 50-minute speech was praised by many legislators are more positive and less confrontational than his first address four years ago. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Moving boxes are stacked outside the offices of state Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, and former House Speaker Louise Stutes, a Kodiak Republican, on the second floor of the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday morning following their demotion to minority status after a Republican-led majority excluding Stutes was named Tuesday. As minority members, they will have no official say on the location of their new offices. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Moving day for House as committees set

Hannan, Bush Caucus get prized finance seats as Republican-led majority shakes up status quo.

Moving boxes are stacked outside the offices of state Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, and former House Speaker Louise Stutes, a Kodiak Republican, on the second floor of the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday morning following their demotion to minority status after a Republican-led majority excluding Stutes was named Tuesday. As minority members, they will have no official say on the location of their new offices. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
State Rep. Cathy TIlton, R-Wasilla, takes to gavel from State Rep. Josiah Patkotak, I-Utqiaġvik, after she is elected speaker of the Alaska State House on Wednesday. She was elected by a 26-14 bipartisan vote, but the initial majority consists of 19 Republicans and four members of the Bush Caucus. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Tilton elected House speaker in unusual vote

Wasilla Republican elected by 26-14 bipartisan vote, but initial majority has 23 members

State Rep. Cathy TIlton, R-Wasilla, takes to gavel from State Rep. Josiah Patkotak, I-Utqiaġvik, after she is elected speaker of the Alaska State House on Wednesday. She was elected by a 26-14 bipartisan vote, but the initial majority consists of 19 Republicans and four members of the Bush Caucus. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, right, listens to an overview of Alaska’s past and projected oil production by Department of Natural Resources Commissioner John Boyle during Kiehl’s first meeting as a member of the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Business as usual underway in the Senate

Key committees meetings start with optimistic tone about working with House, governor

State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, right, listens to an overview of Alaska’s past and projected oil production by Department of Natural Resources Commissioner John Boyle during Kiehl’s first meeting as a member of the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
State Rep. Josiah Patkotak, left, an Utqiagvik independent, accepts the gavel from Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom after he’s elected speaker pro tem of the House during the opening day of the 33rd Alaska State Legislature on Tuesday. Patkotak, who has served as president pro tem during a previous stalemate in determining a House majority, is among the members Republicans are trying to lure to join a coalition controlled by their party. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Session starts sans House speaker, smooth in Senate

Temporary House leader elected as another majority stalemate looms; Senate slights its minority.

State Rep. Josiah Patkotak, left, an Utqiagvik independent, accepts the gavel from Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom after he’s elected speaker pro tem of the House during the opening day of the 33rd Alaska State Legislature on Tuesday. Patkotak, who has served as president pro tem during a previous stalemate in determining a House majority, is among the members Republicans are trying to lure to join a coalition controlled by their party. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
New members of the Alaska State Legislature gather in the House chambers for a mock floor session on Friday as part of their orientation for the start of the regular two-year session on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Yet another suspenseful session starts today

Who will lead the House? Where are the meet-and-greet parties? And other key early-days essentials

New members of the Alaska State Legislature gather in the House chambers for a mock floor session on Friday as part of their orientation for the start of the regular two-year session on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Chairs await state lawmakers in the House chambers at the Alaska State Capitol on Friday. A total of 14 prefile bills were published during the day in addition to 68 published Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

More do’s and don’ts proposed by pols

Sequels are almost never as grandiose as originals, and such is the case with the second batch of prefile bills from state lawmakers released Friday… Continue reading

Chairs await state lawmakers in the House chambers at the Alaska State Capitol on Friday. A total of 14 prefile bills were published during the day in addition to 68 published Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
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Alaska Supreme Court: Anchorage Democrat qualified for House seat

Lower court’s ruling affirmed.

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Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Lisa X’unyéil Worl, a longtime advocate for education and other issues, asks Juneau’s legislative delegation about the prospects for public broadcasting funding from the state during a town hall meeting Wednesday evening at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School.

Local lawmakers say there are ‘no simple answers’ ahead of session

However, Juneau’s delegation expresses optimism for progress on health, safety and education.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Lisa X’unyéil Worl, a longtime advocate for education and other issues, asks Juneau’s legislative delegation about the prospects for public broadcasting funding from the state during a town hall meeting Wednesday evening at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School.
Members of the Alaska State Legislature introduce themselves before a mock floor session for new lawmakers in the House chambers of the state Capitol on Friday. Most of the 19 new members, the most since 1984, are going through three days of orientation before the session starts Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

‘Freshmen 19’ bring unusual heft to Capitol

Class of incoming lawmakers includes many with legislative experience.

Members of the Alaska State Legislature introduce themselves before a mock floor session for new lawmakers in the House chambers of the state Capitol on Friday. Most of the 19 new members, the most since 1984, are going through three days of orientation before the session starts Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
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State Supreme Court to hear arguments in residency case

The Alaska Supreme Court plans to hear arguments on Friday.

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Anchorage Democrat meets residency rules, judge says

“The result of the November 2022 election is accepted…”

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