Alaska Legislature

Akis Gialopsos (left), deputy executive director of the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., and Bryan Butcher (right), the corporation’s CEO/executive director, testify in front of the Senate Finance Committee on Feb. 8. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

With bills and budget boost, Alaska lawmakers use state-run corporation to tackle housing shortage

Legislature directed millions toward housing projects next year; Gov. Dunleavy will soon have a say.

 

State Rep. Andi Story (left), D-Juneau, will face former Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Haines, for the Alaska Legislature’s District 3 House seat in this year’s election. (Official photos from Rep. Andi Story and the Alaska State Legislature)

Rep. Andi Story and former Rep. Bill Thomas will face off in only locally contested legislative race

Juneau’s Rep. Sara Hannan and Sen. Jesse Kiehl among eight unopposed candidates in 50 races.

 

Bill Thomas, a lifelong Chilkat resident and former state lawmaker, has filed as a candidate for the District 3 House seat that includes the northern half of Juneau on Wednesday. (Alaska State Legislature photo)

Former Haines lawmaker Bill Thomas challenging Rep. Andi Story for District 3 House seat

Challenger served in Legislature from 2005-13, been a lobbyist and commercial fisherman for decades.

 

Jennifer Brown plays the drum while Jarrell Williams dances at an MMIP rally on the Alaska State Capitol steps on May 5. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska lawmakers approve additional support for addressing missing and murdered Indigenous people

Cultural training for law enforcement officers and dedicated MMIP investigators among updates.

Jennifer Brown plays the drum while Jarrell Williams dances at an MMIP rally on the Alaska State Capitol steps on May 5. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Sara Hannan (left) and Rep. Andi Story, both Juneau Democrats, talk during a break in floor debate Sunday, May 12, at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s legislative delegation reflects on lots of small items with big impacts passed during session

Public radio for remote communities, merit scholarships, fishing loans among lower-profile successes

Rep. Sara Hannan (left) and Rep. Andi Story, both Juneau Democrats, talk during a break in floor debate Sunday, May 12, at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks about his vision for Alaska’s energy future at the Connecting the Arctic conference held in Anchorage on Monday. Next to him is Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, invited to Anchorage to speak at this week’s Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Gov. Dunleavy examining energy bills passed by Alaska Legislature

Expresses optimism about carbon storage bill, pondering next steps on royalty relief that failed.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks about his vision for Alaska’s energy future at the Connecting the Arctic conference held in Anchorage on Monday. Next to him is Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, invited to Anchorage to speak at this week’s Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, speaks Wednesday, May 8, on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

After several deadly drownings, Alaska Legislature votes to require harbor safety ladders

Bill by Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, passes on final day of session.

Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, speaks Wednesday, May 8, on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, discusses his bill banning “forever chemicals” in firefighting foams just before it received final passage by the Alaska Legislature on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

New property assessor rules, PFAS firefighting foam ban among proposals by local legislators to pass on final day

Increased state disaster aid eligibility, requiring safety ladders on floating docks also pass.

State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, discusses his bill banning “forever chemicals” in firefighting foams just before it received final passage by the Alaska Legislature on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, listens to discussion on the Senate floor on Wednesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

A look at some of the bills that failed to pass the Alaska Legislature this year

Parts of a long-term plan to bring state revenue and expenses into line again failed to advance.

Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, listens to discussion on the Senate floor on Wednesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Genevieve Mina, D-Anchorage, stares at a pile stack of budget amendments on Tuesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska lawmakers expand food stamp program with goal of preventing hunger, application backlogs

More Alaskans will be able to access food stamps following lawmakers’ vote to expand eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on Wednesday night. The… Continue reading

Rep. Genevieve Mina, D-Anchorage, stares at a pile stack of budget amendments on Tuesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Shorebirds forage on July 17, 2019, along the edge of Cook Inlet by the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage. The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that will enable carbon storage in reservoirs deep below Cook Inlet. The carbon-storage bill include numerous other provisions aimed at improving energy supplies and deliverability in Cook Inlet and elsewhere. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Legislature passes carbon-storage bill with additional energy provisions

The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that combines carbon storage, new regulation of natural gas storage, state financing for new Cook Inlet natural gas… Continue reading

Shorebirds forage on July 17, 2019, along the edge of Cook Inlet by the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage. The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that will enable carbon storage in reservoirs deep below Cook Inlet. The carbon-storage bill include numerous other provisions aimed at improving energy supplies and deliverability in Cook Inlet and elsewhere. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks Wednesday on the floor of the Alaska House. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska lawmakers unite to stabilize homeschool program in wake of court ruling

Families who use Alaska’s homeschool program will soon have clarity on how they may spend their allotments of state education money. Lawmakers directed Alaska’s Board… Continue reading

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks Wednesday on the floor of the Alaska House. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
House Minority Leader Calvin Schrage (center), an Anchorage independent, talks with Reps. CJ McCormick, a Bethel Democrat, Neal Foster, a Nome Democrat, and Bryce Edgmon, a Dillingham independent, as a clock shows the midnight Thursday deadline for the 33rd Alaska Legislature to adjourn passed more than an hour earlier. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

33rd Alaska Legislature adjourns well past deadline, due to last-minute rush and disputes by House

Bills on correspondence schools, energy, crime pass on final day; election, other bills cause holdup

House Minority Leader Calvin Schrage (center), an Anchorage independent, talks with Reps. CJ McCormick, a Bethel Democrat, Neal Foster, a Nome Democrat, and Bryce Edgmon, a Dillingham independent, as a clock shows the midnight Thursday deadline for the 33rd Alaska Legislature to adjourn passed more than an hour earlier. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, speaks on a pension amendment Tuesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Last ditch attempt to return Alaska teacher, public employee pensions fails on Senate floor

Proposal would have piggybacked on a bill that aims to remedy the state’s teacher staffing crisis.

Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, speaks on a pension amendment Tuesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
House and Senate members of a conference committee sign the compromise state budget bill for the next fiscal year after the final provisions were agreed upon Tuesday morning at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

House and Senate leaders agree on state budget with estimated $1,655 PFD as Wednesday’s adjournment deadline looms

Major legislation including correspondence schools, energy, elections and crime still pending.

House and Senate members of a conference committee sign the compromise state budget bill for the next fiscal year after the final provisions were agreed upon Tuesday morning at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Jamie Allard, R-Eagle River, and Rep. Mike Prax, R-North Pole, discuss a proposed amendment to a bill sponsored by Allard restricting transgender students’ participation in school sports during a House floor session on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

After accusations of ‘lying’ and ‘hate’ fly, House passes bill restricting transgender students in sports

Bill passes 22-18 after filibuster by minority, but declared dead in Senate as end of session nears.

Rep. Jamie Allard, R-Eagle River, and Rep. Mike Prax, R-North Pole, discuss a proposed amendment to a bill sponsored by Allard restricting transgender students’ participation in school sports during a House floor session on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks to House Clerk Krys Jones on Wednesday, May 8. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska’s education department does not track homeschool allotment spending, but may have to start

Lawmakers have two days left to stabilizing the state’s correspondence program after court ruling.

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks to House Clerk Krys Jones on Wednesday, May 8. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Sen. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, speaks with Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, during a Senate Floor session on Saturday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Church, synagogue vandalism to be punishable as a felony in Alaska under passed bill

Members of the Alaska Senate approved a bill that would increase the penalties for damaging or defacing property owned by religious organizations and used for… Continue reading

Sen. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, speaks with Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, during a Senate Floor session on Saturday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Jan Bronson of Anchorage and Cathy Walling of Fairbanks, representing the Alaska Friends Conference, apologize to Alaska Native communities for the boarding schools it ran in Alaska and the United States. The apology took place at Sayéik Gastineau elementary school, the former site of a Quaker mission school in Juneau, during Orange Shirt Day, Sept. 30, 2022. (Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska lawmakers support push to investigate, document forced assimilation in boarding schools

The widely supported resolution supports a bill championed by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Congress.

Jan Bronson of Anchorage and Cathy Walling of Fairbanks, representing the Alaska Friends Conference, apologize to Alaska Native communities for the boarding schools it ran in Alaska and the United States. The apology took place at Sayéik Gastineau elementary school, the former site of a Quaker mission school in Juneau, during Orange Shirt Day, Sept. 30, 2022. (Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)
Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, talks to an aide during a break in a Senate Finance Committee meeting on Sunday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Senate contemplates major property tax cut for over-65 homeowners

Four days before the scheduled end of the Alaska Legislature’s regular session, a Senate committee has proposed a major increase in the state’s property tax… Continue reading

Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, talks to an aide during a break in a Senate Finance Committee meeting on Sunday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)