Alaska Legislature

Standalone education budget confirmed

Alaska lawmakers confirmed the state’s $1.2 billion education budget in a brief meeting of the House-Senate budget conference committee on Thursday. The six lawmakers on… Continue reading

Kara Nelson, Director of Haven House, testifies against Senate Bill 127 in front of the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, April 19, 2018. the bill is sponsored by Sen. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, right. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Southcentral Alaskans plead for SB 91 rollback, Juneau testifiers urge otherwise

Southcentral Alaskans offered passionate testimony in support of a rollback of criminal justice reforms, but despite outcry from those in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley,… Continue reading

Kara Nelson, Director of Haven House, testifies against Senate Bill 127 in front of the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, April 19, 2018. the bill is sponsored by Sen. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, right. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
The Alaska State Capitol. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Debt doubt: Legal argument may threaten state’s ability to borrow money

It’s a situation like a homeowner who opens a wall during renovations and unexpectedly finds termites. A legal dispute between attorneys could make billions of… Continue reading

The Alaska State Capitol. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Legislature approves flat schools budget, but no increases may force cuts

The Alaska Legislature on Wednesday approved a $1.2 billion budget for public schools in the next fiscal year. With a 31-9 vote, the Alaska House… Continue reading

Members of the House-Senate conference committee on the budget meet Tuesday afternoon, April 17, 2018 in the Senate Finance committee room of the Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

House, Senate negotiators take first steps toward budget compromise

The Alaska Legislature took its first tentative steps toward a budget compromise as conferees from the House and Senate met Tuesday afternoon and agreed upon… Continue reading

Members of the House-Senate conference committee on the budget meet Tuesday afternoon, April 17, 2018 in the Senate Finance committee room of the Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Youth e-cigarette ban nears Alaska House vote

The Alaska House of Representatives is preparing for a final vote to prohibit Alaskans 18 and under from buying electronic cigarettes and the liquid used… Continue reading

Legislature’s lengthy work may delay ballot measures

The Alaska Legislature’s extended work may have an effect on the fall elections. Lawmakers are expected to adjourn by the end of the month, according… Continue reading

Fight against derelict boats may cost boat owners

To help harbormasters identify and clean up derelict boats, the Alaska Legislature is considering a new fee on boats longer than 24 feet. The Alaska… Continue reading

House struggles could risk Permanent Fund Corp. in long term

Correction: A quote about divisions within the House Majority, previously attributed to House Majority Leader Chris Tuck, should have been attributed to Speaker of the… Continue reading

Rep. Kito (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau Rep. Kito splits with Alaska House’s majority coalition

When Rep. Sam Kito III walked out of Tuesday night’s House Rules Committee meeting in protest, he may have walked out of the Alaska House’s… Continue reading

Rep. Kito (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)
Sen. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, and Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, speak during a reception in their honor at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Both are retiring from the legislature this year. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Legislature says goodbye to Egan with cake, memories

After nine years, Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, has had enough. Lawmakers, staffers and others in the Alaska State Capitol took a brief break Wednesday to… Continue reading

Sen. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, and Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, speak during a reception in their honor at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Both are retiring from the legislature this year. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

House prepares to vote on school funding boost

Correction: The first version of this article mis-stated the bill number for the funding increase. It is HB 339, not 399. Alaska schools may receive… Continue reading

Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, speaks to his amendment to the state’s operating budget to inflation proof the Alaska Permanent Fund in the Senate at the Capitol on Thursday, April 12, 2018. The amendment was voted down 11-9. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Alaska Senate votes to spend Permanent Fund to balance portion of state deficit

Editor’s note: This story has been updated. The prior version of this story is appended below. The Alaska Senate approved a bolstered state budget late… Continue reading

Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, speaks to his amendment to the state’s operating budget to inflation proof the Alaska Permanent Fund in the Senate at the Capitol on Thursday, April 12, 2018. The amendment was voted down 11-9. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Rep. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, signs a committee report on Senate Bill 63 late Tuesday, April 10, 2018 in the Alaska State Capitol. Also pictured are a legislative staffer (standing), Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak (center) and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage (right). (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Antismoking bill advances in Alaska House

The chief legislative antagonist of a statewide antismoking bill relaxed her opposition Tuesday evening, and a revised version of the measure now appears bound for… Continue reading

Rep. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, signs a committee report on Senate Bill 63 late Tuesday, April 10, 2018 in the Alaska State Capitol. Also pictured are a legislative staffer (standing), Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak (center) and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage (right). (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)
Kenni Linden is seen in an undated campaign photograph from a run for Palmer City Council. (Screenshot)

Lawmakers approve Walker’s new cabinet but balk at board nominee with Planned Parenthood background

The Alaska Legislature approved Gov. Bill Walker’s picks for his cabinet in a Tuesday joint session of the House and Senate, but it balked at… Continue reading

Kenni Linden is seen in an undated campaign photograph from a run for Palmer City Council. (Screenshot)
Rep. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, discusses House Bill 25 on Monday, April 9, 2018 on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives with House Majority Leader Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage (left). (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Alaska House votes to boost access to birth control

After three years of work, the Alaska House of Representatives on Monday voted 21-17 to approve a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe up… Continue reading

Rep. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, discusses House Bill 25 on Monday, April 9, 2018 on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives with House Majority Leader Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage (left). (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)
Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, is seen on March 6, 2018. (Daniel McDonald | Alaska Senate Majority)

Proposal to protect the PFD in the Alaska Constitution advances in the Senate

The Alaska Legislature’s in-house legal chief has broken a logjam in the Senate Judiciary Committee, allowing proposed constitutional protections for the Permanent Fund Dividend to… Continue reading

Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, is seen on March 6, 2018. (Daniel McDonald | Alaska Senate Majority)

Minor revolt among Alaska senators fails to advance PFD amendment

A minor revolt in the Alaska Senate failed on Saturday to advance constitutional protections for the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole… Continue reading

A Municipality of Anchorage vote-by-mail drop box is seen in an undated photo. (Maria Athens | For the Juneau Empire)

After Anchorage success, state considers whether Alaska is ready for elections by mail

By the numbers alone, Anchorage’s first election held by mail has been a smashing success. Election Day was Tuesday, and almost 80,000 votes have already… Continue reading

A Municipality of Anchorage vote-by-mail drop box is seen in an undated photo. (Maria Athens | For the Juneau Empire)
A poster featuring Bree Moore and encouraging action against dating violence is seen on the Alaska State Capitol office door of Rep. Harriet Drummond, D-Anchorage, on April 5, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Four years ago their daughter was murdered. Now, they say a single legislator is holding up their bill.

Update: Following the publication of this story, three legislators on Friday made a procedural move called a Rule 48 Request to get this bill heard in committee. It's… Continue reading

A poster featuring Bree Moore and encouraging action against dating violence is seen on the Alaska State Capitol office door of Rep. Harriet Drummond, D-Anchorage, on April 5, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)