Alaska Legislature

Alaska 2017: A year of almosts and maybes

Things almost happened in 2017. The Alaska Legislature almost shut down state government. Lawmakers almost revived the state’s income tax. They almost diverted a portion… Continue reading

Want to join the Alaska Legislature? Applications are open

Democrats have begun taking applications from Alaskans interested in representing the North Slope and Northwest Arctic Borough in the Alaska Legislature. On Friday, Alaska’s Democratic… Continue reading

Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kiana, speaks in favor of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in February 2017. After being accused of sexual harassment by many women, Westlake resigned Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Accused of sexual harassment, Rep. Westlake will resign from Legislature

Days after vowing to stay in office amid accusations of sexually harassing Capitol staffers, Rep. Dean Westlake says he will resign. In a statement sent… Continue reading

Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kiana, speaks in favor of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in February 2017. After being accused of sexual harassment by many women, Westlake resigned Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Accused of sexual harassment, Rep. Dean Westlake refuses to resign

Rep. Dean Westlake will not resign. In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Democrat from the Northwest Arctic Borough said that despite seven accusations of… Continue reading

Alaska state Sen. David Wilson, a Republican from Wasilla, addresses reporters Dec. 7 in Anchorage. (Mark Thiessen | The Associated Press File)

Alaska will not prosecute state senator who slapped a reporter

The state of Alaska will not prosecute Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, for slapping an Anchorage Daily News reporter in May. In a Tuesday letter to… Continue reading

Alaska state Sen. David Wilson, a Republican from Wasilla, addresses reporters Dec. 7 in Anchorage. (Mark Thiessen | The Associated Press File)

Investigator says state senator did not ‘upskirt’ staffer

An internal legislative investigation has concluded that Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, did not sexually harass a legislative staffer in a June incident but did put… Continue reading

Assembly member and legislative candidate Jerry Nankervis chairs a public safety committee meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Deputy Mayor Nankervis seeks to leap from city hall to Capitol

Deputy Mayor Jerry Nankervis doesn’t let much get in the way of his fall deer hunt. That includes a run for the Alaska Legislature. Last… Continue reading

Assembly member and legislative candidate Jerry Nankervis chairs a public safety committee meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Keith Meyer, president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, speaks to a meeting of the joint House-Senate resources committees in 2016. (Juneau Empire file)

Alaska gas pipeline may face 2018 funding crunch

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation came back from China with a roadmap to build a trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline. The corporation now faces a critical… Continue reading

Keith Meyer, president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, speaks to a meeting of the joint House-Senate resources committees in 2016. (Juneau Empire file)
Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau, and Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, preside over a meeting of the Alaska Legislature’s Legislative Council on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Legislators launch secret internal investigation

The Alaska Legislature’s internal Legislative Council is opening an internal investigation, but after a six-hour closed-door meeting, lawmakers on Tuesday refused to reveal the subject… Continue reading

Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau, and Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, preside over a meeting of the Alaska Legislature’s Legislative Council on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Legislature will end special session today

There will be no grand ceremonies or speeches as the Alaska Legislature ends the fourth special session of the 30th Alaska Legislature today. In fact,… Continue reading

Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp speaks to Juneau Police Department Officer Jason Van Sickle during the trial of Leron Carlton Graham in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday. Graham is representing himself on 14 counts of allegedly assaulting a woman and stealing a car in the Lemon Creek area in March. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Budget cuts hit prosecutors hard

This is a part of a continuing series examining the effects of budget cuts to state services. To see how state budget cuts are affecting… Continue reading

Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp speaks to Juneau Police Department Officer Jason Van Sickle during the trial of Leron Carlton Graham in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday. Graham is representing himself on 14 counts of allegedly assaulting a woman and stealing a car in the Lemon Creek area in March. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)
Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, center, leaves the House chambers with Rep. Sam Kito, D-Juneau, left, and Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, after holding a short technical session at the Capitol on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. The Alaska Senate on Friday approved a constitutionally problematic criminal justice reform bill, then adjourned the fourth special session of the 30th Alaska Legislature. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Legislature’s special session lives in limbo without legislators

The Alaska Legislature’s special session will continue — without most legislators. On Monday, the Alaska House of Representatives failed to adjourn the ongoing fourth special… Continue reading

Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, center, leaves the House chambers with Rep. Sam Kito, D-Juneau, left, and Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, after holding a short technical session at the Capitol on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. The Alaska Senate on Friday approved a constitutionally problematic criminal justice reform bill, then adjourned the fourth special session of the 30th Alaska Legislature. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Senate approves criminal justice reform bill, adjourns special session

Despite warnings from some of the state’s top legal minds, the Alaska Senate on Friday approved a constitutionally problematic criminal justice reform bill, then adjourned… Continue reading

Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, watches the House debate on SB 26 from the Elizabeth Peratrovich Gallery Wednesday, April 5, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Alaska Senator from Wasilla denies any wrongdoing with staffer

A June incident involving a House staffer and state Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, has prompted lawmakers to re-examine how they handle staff complaints about sexual… Continue reading

Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, watches the House debate on SB 26 from the Elizabeth Peratrovich Gallery Wednesday, April 5, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)
A file cart is seen packed with amendments outside the House Chambers on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 in the Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Legal analysis finds big problem with SB 54

After a weeklong whirlwind of amendments, Senate Bill 54 is in the hands of the lawyers — and some of them aren’t happy. A late… Continue reading

A file cart is seen packed with amendments outside the House Chambers on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 in the Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

House votes to partially roll back Senate Bill 91

The Alaska House of Representatives has voted to roll back the controversial criminal justice measure Senate Bill 91, but lawmakers failed to pass a full… Continue reading

Anchorage Republicans seek to move Legislature from Juneau

A pair of Anchorage Republicans have announced their intentions to begin raising money for a 2020 ballot initiative that seeks to move the Alaska Legislature… Continue reading

The Alaska State Capitol on Thursday, April 6, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Alaska State Troopers investigate man who threatened lawmakers for ‘coddling the guilty’

House floor debates over Senate Bill 54 enter their fourth day today after a tumultuous weekend that saw the Speaker of the House warn Alaska… Continue reading

The Alaska State Capitol on Thursday, April 6, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Alaska House starts voting on rollback of criminal justice reform

As voting began Saturday morning on floor amendments to Senate Bill 54, members of the Alaska House of Representatives found themselves divided into two camps.… Continue reading

House Finance Committee members listen as Ed King, Legislative Liaison for the Department of Natural Resources, give the Preliminary 2017 Fall Production Forecast at the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Taxes and budget grab Legislature’s attention this week

With a House-passed version of Senate Bill 54 likely headed to the Senate, both the House and Senate are beginning to turn their attention to… Continue reading

House Finance Committee members listen as Ed King, Legislative Liaison for the Department of Natural Resources, give the Preliminary 2017 Fall Production Forecast at the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)