Alaska Legislature

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)
Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, speaks in favor of an amendment to a bill restricting transgender students from participating in school sports during a floor debate Saturday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

As House plays the filibuster game on transgender sports bill Saturday, students’ focus is on the fields

Legislators spend more than 12 hours in heated debate on amendments; vote on bill scheduled Sunday

Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, speaks in favor of an amendment to a bill restricting transgender students from participating in school sports during a floor debate Saturday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A.J. Wilson, 17, DeAndre Pittman, 16, and Elora Johnson, 16, eat lunch March 31, 2022, in the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé cafeteria. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

Alaska lawmakers choose lower funding proposals for school lunches, reading reforms

Compromise budget rejects making reduced-price lunches free to students from low-income families.

A.J. Wilson, 17, DeAndre Pittman, 16, and Elora Johnson, 16, eat lunch March 31, 2022, in the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé cafeteria. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Rep. Jamie Allard, R-Eagle River, Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, and Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, discuss an amendment to a bill restricting transgender participation in school sports during a House floor session Thursday.

With time for key issues this session running out, House stalled by filibuster of transgender sports ban bill

Bill tabled until Saturday, making its chances bleak with Legislature scheduled to adjourn Wednesday

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Rep. Jamie Allard, R-Eagle River, Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, and Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, discuss an amendment to a bill restricting transgender participation in school sports during a House floor session Thursday.
Budding trees and bushes are seen in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday, May 1. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Brinksmanship and compromise emerge in Alaska’s Capitol as legislative session nears an end

Legislators combining varied pieces of legislation to get them across the finish line by Wednesday.

Budding trees and bushes are seen in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday, May 1. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Sen. Löki Tobin, D-Anchorage, is seen during a news conference on Wednesday, March 13. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Senate OKs increased access to birth control

A large bipartisan majority of the Senate approved increased insurance coverage for birth control on Thursday. Alaskans may access up to 12 months worth of… Continue reading

Sen. Löki Tobin, D-Anchorage, is seen during a news conference on Wednesday, March 13. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Members of the Alaska House of Representatives consider artificial intelligence legislation on Wednesday during a break in a session of the Alaska House of Representatives. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Debating faked images and video, Alaska lawmakers say AI could eventually be a person

Correction: The bill’s sponsor and Vance’s role on the House Judiciary Committee were misidentified in the original version of this article. The Alaska House of… Continue reading

Members of the Alaska House of Representatives consider artificial intelligence legislation on Wednesday during a break in a session of the Alaska House of Representatives. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, speaks on the House floor in 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

By wide, bipartisan margin, Alaska House puts finishing touches on state capital budget

The Alaska House of Representatives approved a major increase to state spending on school repairs and renewable energy on Tuesday as it voted 39-1 to… Continue reading

Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, speaks on the House floor in 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Members of the state House and Senate look at a tally board showing the failure of Bob Griffin to be confirmed to the Alaska state school board on Tuesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Legislature rejects Dunleavy-nominated state school board member

Two other nominees for boards and commissions fail to gain approval as lawmakers approve 78 of 81.

Members of the state House and Senate look at a tally board showing the failure of Bob Griffin to be confirmed to the Alaska state school board on Tuesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Members of the Alaska House Finance Committee discuss their first-draft budget on Tuesday, March 12. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House nears vote on big increase for public school maintenance statewide

House Finance Committee approved the most school maintenance funding since 2011.

Members of the Alaska House Finance Committee discuss their first-draft budget on Tuesday, March 12. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Members of the Alaska House Finance Committee, at left, listen to budget aide Remond Henderson during a break in amendment discussions on Monday, March 27, 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House committee kills state-owned corporation’s plan to borrow up to $300 million

AIDEA did not identify specific projects or a timeline for spending.

Members of the Alaska House Finance Committee, at left, listen to budget aide Remond Henderson during a break in amendment discussions on Monday, March 27, 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Andi Story, a Juneau Democrat, listens to a presentation during a House Education Committee meeting on Friday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Andi Story, a Juneau Democrat, listens to a presentation during a House Education Committee meeting on Friday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Deputy Attorney General Cori Mills explains the administration’s understanding of a ruling that struck down key components of the state’s correspondence school program, in the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Gov. Dunleavy says homeschool changes must wait until appeal ruling as lawmakers eye fixes

“Something of this magnitude warrants a special session,” Dunleavy says.

Deputy Attorney General Cori Mills explains the administration’s understanding of a ruling that struck down key components of the state’s correspondence school program, in the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
From left to right, Sens. Loki Tobin, D-Anchorage; Bert Stedman, R-Sitka; and David Wilson, R-Wasilla, discuss a proposed budget amendment on Wednesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Senate passes draft budget, confirming $175 million in bonus public-school funding

Gov. Mike Dunleavy told reporters that he’s ‘open to the increase’ proposed by lawmakers.

From left to right, Sens. Loki Tobin, D-Anchorage; Bert Stedman, R-Sitka; and David Wilson, R-Wasilla, discuss a proposed budget amendment on Wednesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)