Alaska Legislature

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds up the omnibus crime bill, House Bill 66, after signing it at a ceremony Thursday at the Department of Public Safety’s aircraft hangar at Lake Hood in Anchorage. At his side are Sandy Snodgrass, whose 22-year-old son died in 2021 from a fentanyl overdose, and Angela Harris, who was stabbed in 2022 by a mentally disturbed man at the public library in Anchorage and injured so badly that she now uses a wheelchair. Snodgrass and Harris advocated for provisions in the bill.Behind them are legislators, law enforcement officers and others. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Goals for new Alaska crime law range from harsher penalties for drug dealers to reducing recidivism

Some celebrate major progress on state’s thorniest crime issues while others criticize the methods.

 

University of Alaska Anchorage students walking outside UAA Student Union on Feb. 7, 2023. The Alaska Performance Scholarship funds high-achieving students to attend secondary education in Alaska. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska lawmakers aim to expand eligibility for scholarships

Merit-based Alaska Performance Scholarships intended to keep high-achieving students in the state.

 

Gov. Mike Dunleavy hands out pens he used to sign the budget bills for the fiscal year beginning July 1 to state lawmakers during a private ceremony in Anchorage on Thursday. (Official photo from The Office of the Governor)

Dunleavy signs state budget with $680 BSA increase, vetoes tens of millions in other education spending

Broadband for rural schools, K-3 reading assistance, disaster aid, ferry system among other vetoes.

 

Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, cuts a cake at an event at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office on Thursday to celebrate Juneteenth’s new status as an official state holiday. The celebration followed a bill-signing ceremony at Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s Anchorage office. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Dunleavy signs bill to make Juneteenth a state holiday in Alaska

On Thursday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a bill to make Juneteenth a legal holiday in the state. “Juneteenth is a day to celebrate a milestone… Continue reading

Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, cuts a cake at an event at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office on Thursday to celebrate Juneteenth’s new status as an official state holiday. The celebration followed a bill-signing ceremony at Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s Anchorage office. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
A cartoon sketch is seen on a cubicle in the offices of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. during an open house on Friday, Feb. 16. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

After email leak, some Alaska legislators say they’re skeptical of Permanent Fund’s direction

Members of the Alaska Legislature questioned the direction of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. on Monday in a hearing of the Legislative Budget and Audit… Continue reading

A cartoon sketch is seen on a cubicle in the offices of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. during an open house on Friday, Feb. 16. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, speaks on the Senate floor on March 6. Gray-Jackson was the sponsor of a bill to make Juneteenth a state holiday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

On Juneteenth, Gov. Dunleavy weighs adding a new legal holiday for Alaska

If the governor signs recently passed bill, Juneteenth would be observed as a state holiday in 2025.

Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, speaks on the Senate floor on March 6. Gray-Jackson was the sponsor of a bill to make Juneteenth a state holiday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Bill Thomas, a former Republican state representative from Haines, announced Friday he is dropping out of the race for the District 3 House seat this fall. (U.S. Sustainability Alliance photo)

Bill Thomas drops out of District 3 House race, says there isn’t time for fishing and campaigning

Haines Republican cites rough start to commercial season; incumbent Andi Story now unopposed.

Bill Thomas, a former Republican state representative from Haines, announced Friday he is dropping out of the race for the District 3 House seat this fall. (U.S. Sustainability Alliance photo)
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.

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)
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.

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)
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.

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)
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)