Alaska Legislature

A cycle rickshaw passes the North State Office Building parking garage located on Willoughby Avenue in downtown Juneau in September. A $30 million request to pay for upgrades to the parking garage tied for first on a list of requests for state legislative funding as ranked by Juneau Assembly members. Assembly Member Alicia Hughes-Skandijs said expanding parking there can free up other downtown space for housing and other development, which is a top overall goal of city leaders. The parking upgrade is officially ranked second on the list since a request to further development of the Pederson Hill Subdivision had a higher ranking on last year’s priority list. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

City, school district draft legislative priorties

Assembly members rank housing projects high, while school board opts for new tactic of broader goals

A cycle rickshaw passes the North State Office Building parking garage located on Willoughby Avenue in downtown Juneau in September. A $30 million request to pay for upgrades to the parking garage tied for first on a list of requests for state legislative funding as ranked by Juneau Assembly members. Assembly Member Alicia Hughes-Skandijs said expanding parking there can free up other downtown space for housing and other development, which is a top overall goal of city leaders. The parking upgrade is officially ranked second on the list since a request to further development of the Pederson Hill Subdivision had a higher ranking on last year’s priority list. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
The Assembly Building is seen on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, in downtown Juneau, Alaska. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Legislature votes $6.6M for legislative housing near Capitol

A House-Senate committee of the Alaska Legislature has approved spending $6.6 million to renovate a downtown Juneau office building into 33 apartments for legislators and… Continue reading

The Assembly Building is seen on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, in downtown Juneau, Alaska. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, sits in the House on April 29, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. Eastman, accused of violating the state constitution's disloyalty clause over his lifetime membership in Oath Keepers, has not condemned the organization in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S Capitol. "No, I generally don't condemn groups," Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, said during his bench hearing on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, his second day on the witness stand. (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer, File)

Judge rules Eastman eligible to hold office

The judge’s order is on hold pending a possible appeal.

Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, sits in the House on April 29, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. Eastman, accused of violating the state constitution's disloyalty clause over his lifetime membership in Oath Keepers, has not condemned the organization in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S Capitol. "No, I generally don't condemn groups," Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, said during his bench hearing on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, his second day on the witness stand. (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer, File)
Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire 
State Rep. Andi Story chats with Tawnya Kreft at her office in the Alaska State Capitol during the Juneau legislative delegation’s holiday open house Thursday afternoon.

Holiday cheer as the legislative session nears

Residents chat and snack with Juneau’s delegation during open house at Capitol.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire 
State Rep. Andi Story chats with Tawnya Kreft at her office in the Alaska State Capitol during the Juneau legislative delegation’s holiday open house Thursday afternoon.
FILE - Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, sits in the House on April 29, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. Eastman, accused of violating the state constitution's disloyalty clause over his lifetime membership in Oath Keepers, has not condemned the organization in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S Capitol. "No, I generally don't condemn groups," Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, said during his bench hearing on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, his second day on the witness stand. (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer)

Alaska lawmaker won’t condemn Oath Keepers in Capitol riot

“No, I generally don’t condemn groups.”

FILE - Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, sits in the House on April 29, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. Eastman, accused of violating the state constitution's disloyalty clause over his lifetime membership in Oath Keepers, has not condemned the organization in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S Capitol. "No, I generally don't condemn groups," Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, said during his bench hearing on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, his second day on the witness stand. (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer)
Alaska Republican state Rep. David Eastman, standing, speaks on the House floor on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Juneau.  (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer)

Case against state lawmaker with Oath Keepers ties moves to trial

Trial is slated to begin Monday.

Alaska Republican state Rep. David Eastman, standing, speaks on the House floor on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Juneau.  (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer)
A state court judge is weighing whether to allow a case to proceed to trial that alleges that Rep. David Eastman's ties to the far-right Oath Keepers group disqualifies him from holding office. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Judge weighs how to proceed on case against Eastman

He said he would aim to issue a ruling by Friday.

A state court judge is weighing whether to allow a case to proceed to trial that alleges that Rep. David Eastman's ties to the far-right Oath Keepers group disqualifies him from holding office. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Alaska State Rep. David Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, is shown seated on the House floor on April 29 in Juneau. His district seat is among those whose fate is unknown, due to a pending lawsuit challenging his eligibility because of his membership in Proud Boys. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

New playfield, but familiar waiting game for new state House majority

Three pending races among unknowns that may again drag fight out for months.

Alaska State Rep. David Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, is shown seated on the House floor on April 29 in Juneau. His district seat is among those whose fate is unknown, due to a pending lawsuit challenging his eligibility because of his membership in Proud Boys. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol. Pending recounts could determine who will spend time in the building as part of the new state Legislature. Recounts in two Anchorage-area legislative races are scheduled to take place this week, a top state elections official said Tuesday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Recounts set for 2 Alaska legislative races

Senate District E race and the House District 15 race.

This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol. Pending recounts could determine who will spend time in the building as part of the new state Legislature. Recounts in two Anchorage-area legislative races are scheduled to take place this week, a top state elections official said Tuesday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Juneau state Sen. Jesse Kiehl, left, gives a legislative proclamation to former longtime Juneau Assembly member Loren Jones, following Kiehl’s speech at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce’s weekly luncheon Thursday at the Juneau Moose Family Center.

Cloudy economy, but sunnier political outlook lie ahead for lawmakers, Kiehl says

Juneau’s state senator tells Chamber of Commerce bipartisan majority a key to meaningful action

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Juneau state Sen. Jesse Kiehl, left, gives a legislative proclamation to former longtime Juneau Assembly member Loren Jones, following Kiehl’s speech at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce’s weekly luncheon Thursday at the Juneau Moose Family Center.
The Alaska State Capitol awaits a legislators forming new majority coalitions and the return of Gov. Mike Dunleavy after the winners of the general election were announced Wednesday. The Senate will have a 17-member bipartisan ruling coalition, while the House arrangement remains uncertain due to at least one likely recount and questions about partisan alignments. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Bipartisan majority formed for new state Senate

Eight Republicans join nine Democrats after many years of Republican rule

The Alaska State Capitol awaits a legislators forming new majority coalitions and the return of Gov. Mike Dunleavy after the winners of the general election were announced Wednesday. The Senate will have a 17-member bipartisan ruling coalition, while the House arrangement remains uncertain due to at least one likely recount and questions about partisan alignments. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Then-Alaska State Senate President Ben Stevens, R Anchorage, talks during an interview on May 25, 2005 at the State Capitol in Juneau, Alaska. Ben Stevens, a former Alaska Senate president and a son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, died on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. He was 63. (AP Photo / David J. Sheakley)

Ben Stevens, former Alaska Senate president, dies at age 63

Ben Stevens, a former Alaska Senate president and a son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, has died. He was 63. The Alaska State… Continue reading

Then-Alaska State Senate President Ben Stevens, R Anchorage, talks during an interview on May 25, 2005 at the State Capitol in Juneau, Alaska. Ben Stevens, a former Alaska Senate president and a son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, died on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. He was 63. (AP Photo / David J. Sheakley)
The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. building in Juneau is scheduled to be the site where the board of trustees will select a new executive director on Monday, following the investigation into the firing of former CEO Angela Rodell last December being presented to state lawmakers on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Investigators: Permanent Fund CEO’s firing legal but departed from policy

Trustees acted legally, despite not following official policy, and governor didn’t influence decision

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. building in Juneau is scheduled to be the site where the board of trustees will select a new executive director on Monday, following the investigation into the firing of former CEO Angela Rodell last December being presented to state lawmakers on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Alaska Rep. Victor Kohring, R-Wasilla, is led into the Federal Court Room for arraignment in Juneau, Alaska on Friday, May 4, 2007. Kohring, a former Alaska lawmaker who was caught up in a corruption scandal that roiled the state Legislature more than 15 years ago, has died in a vehicle crash. (AP File Photo / Chris Miller)

Former Alaska lawmaker Kohring dies in vehicle crash

Car crash occurred Tuesday evening, according to troopers.

Alaska Rep. Victor Kohring, R-Wasilla, is led into the Federal Court Room for arraignment in Juneau, Alaska on Friday, May 4, 2007. Kohring, a former Alaska lawmaker who was caught up in a corruption scandal that roiled the state Legislature more than 15 years ago, has died in a vehicle crash. (AP File Photo / Chris Miller)
In this Jan. 17, 2017, photo state Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kotzebue, talks with another legislator during a break in the opening session of the Alaska Legislature in Juneau, Alaska. The son of the former Alaska lawmaker faces charges of manslaughter and evidence tampering in death of his father, according to charging documents. Tallon Westlake was arrested over the weekend. An online court records system did not show an attorney Monday, Aug. 22, 2022 who could speak on his behalf. The charging documents are dated Sunday. (AP File Photo / Mark Thiessen)

Son of ex-Alaska lawmaker faces charges in father’s death

He was arrested over the weekend.

In this Jan. 17, 2017, photo state Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kotzebue, talks with another legislator during a break in the opening session of the Alaska Legislature in Juneau, Alaska. The son of the former Alaska lawmaker faces charges of manslaughter and evidence tampering in death of his father, according to charging documents. Tallon Westlake was arrested over the weekend. An online court records system did not show an attorney Monday, Aug. 22, 2022 who could speak on his behalf. The charging documents are dated Sunday. (AP File Photo / Mark Thiessen)
A Walker-Drygas campaign sign stands across from the governor’s mansion in Juneau. Financial forms recently filed with the state showed contributions to gubernatorial campaigns up sharply from the same time period four years ago. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Governor race contributions triple from last cycle, filings show

Eliminating individual donation limits results in top tickets raising nearly $3M since February.

A Walker-Drygas campaign sign stands across from the governor’s mansion in Juneau. Financial forms recently filed with the state showed contributions to gubernatorial campaigns up sharply from the same time period four years ago. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Bill Allen, former chief executive of VECO Corp. leaves federal court on Oct. 28, 2009 in Anchorage. Allen, a former oil services executive who was a key figure in a corruption scandal that rocked Alaska politics, has died. He was 85. (AP Photo  /Al Grillo, File)

Bill Allen, key figure in Alaska corruption scandal, dies

Bill Allen, a central figure in a corruption scandal that rocked Alaska politics, has died. He was 85. Allen’s death was reported by Alaska media,… Continue reading

Bill Allen, former chief executive of VECO Corp. leaves federal court on Oct. 28, 2009 in Anchorage. Allen, a former oil services executive who was a key figure in a corruption scandal that rocked Alaska politics, has died. He was 85. (AP Photo  /Al Grillo, File)
In this April 11, 2018 photo state Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, walks out of the Senate chambers and to a reception to honor him and Sen. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, at the Capitol. Both were retiring from the legislature. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
In this April 11, 2018 photo state Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, walks out of the Senate chambers and to a reception to honor him and Sen. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, at the Capitol. Both were retiring from the legislature. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
This March 13, 2020, photo shows then-Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, on the floor of the House. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Former state rep accused of voter misconduct will have a trial in August.

The trial is expected to last 10 days, and the precise start date has not yet been set.

This March 13, 2020, photo shows then-Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, on the floor of the House. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Rep. Zack Fields, D-Anchorage speaks during a rally urging the Alaska government, particularly the Permanent Fund Corp., to divest itself from any Russian investment. Legislation to require divestment did not pass the Legislature. The state still holds millions of dollars in Russian investments. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

State still holds millions in Russian investments

Llegislation that would have required the state to sell its Russia holdings did not pass.

Rep. Zack Fields, D-Anchorage speaks during a rally urging the Alaska government, particularly the Permanent Fund Corp., to divest itself from any Russian investment. Legislation to require divestment did not pass the Legislature. The state still holds millions of dollars in Russian investments. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)