Alaska Legislature

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, watches as the tally board in the Alaska House of Representatives shows the vote against House Joint Resolution 7 on Thursday. Eastman supported the amendment. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House votes down constitutional guarantee for Permanent Fund dividend

Guarantee had been discussed as part of long-term plan to bring state expenses in line with revenue.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, watches as the tally board in the Alaska House of Representatives shows the vote against House Joint Resolution 7 on Thursday. Eastman supported the amendment. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer and co-chair of the House Finance Committee, speaks Thursday on the House floor about the state’s operating budget. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House passes draft state budget amid warnings that state spending doesn’t balance

Changes during floor debate include $9M by Rep Andi Story, D-Juneau, for youth reading program.

Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer and co-chair of the House Finance Committee, speaks Thursday on the House floor about the state’s operating budget. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Genevieve Mina, D-Anchorage, stares at a pile stack of budget amendments on Tuesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House digs into budget — and a developing gap between expenses and revenue

Financial estimates show may not be enough revenue to cover the Legislature’s draft spending plan.

Rep. Genevieve Mina, D-Anchorage, stares at a pile stack of budget amendments on Tuesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
The voting board in the Alaska House of Representatives displays the total votes for and against Senate Bill 45 on Monday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska lawmakers OK rules for subscription-style basic health care

The Alaska Legislature has voted to approve a health care approach likened to a gym membership. In a 28-12 vote on Monday, the state House… Continue reading

The voting board in the Alaska House of Representatives displays the total votes for and against Senate Bill 45 on Monday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
The House Education Committee hears public testimony on a multipart education bill on Monday. Members of the public chided lawmakers for a dysfunctional meeting. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Committee advances Alaska education bill with Gov. Dunleavy priorities, historic funding increase

The meeting was dysfunctional enough that the public scolded lawmakers in testimony.

The House Education Committee hears public testimony on a multipart education bill on Monday. Members of the public chided lawmakers for a dysfunctional meeting. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer and co-chair of the House Finance Committee, signs the committee’s version of the state operating budget on Friday. Looking on is Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, and at background is Rep. Frank Tomaszewski, R-Fairbanks. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House prepares to consider budget changes, including money for homeless shelter and ferries

$12.3 billion spending plan includes PFD of more than $2,700, but lawmakers expect changes.

Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer and co-chair of the House Finance Committee, signs the committee’s version of the state operating budget on Friday. Looking on is Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, and at background is Rep. Frank Tomaszewski, R-Fairbanks. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, speaks during a March 19 news conference. Next to him is Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, a co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Senate acts to keep cities, boroughs from taxing property sales

Juneau’s Jesse Kiehl among dissenters in 16-3 vote, saying decision should be made locally

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, speaks during a March 19 news conference. Next to him is Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, a co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
A maintenance worker cleans the front of the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska schools could buckle down on civics

Legislative proposal seeks to increase civic engagement

A maintenance worker cleans the front of the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
An outdoor basketball hoop is seen in Bethel in October 2022. A bill advanced in the House Education Committee on Wednesday would expand limitations for trans girls on sports teams. (Claire Stremple / Alaska Beacon)

Bills targeting trans people are on the rise nationwide and in Alaska — most focus on children

“I guess we’ll have to go do this again,” Starla Miller said as the committee room cleared. She was one of dozens of Alaskans who… Continue reading

An outdoor basketball hoop is seen in Bethel in October 2022. A bill advanced in the House Education Committee on Wednesday would expand limitations for trans girls on sports teams. (Claire Stremple / Alaska Beacon)
Fishing boats are lines up on Oct. 3, 2022, at a dock at Kodiak’s St. Paul Harbor. Commercial fishing injuries and illnessness are not covered by workers’ compensation, so a state-managed Fishermen’s Fund serves as backstop payor for medical costs. A newly passed bill, if signed by the governor, would increase maximum allowable payments from the fund. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Legislature boosts allowable payments from fund that covers fishers’ crew medical costs

Maximum payouts from a fund that covers medical costs of injured seafood harvesters would be boosted under a bill that won final passage in the… Continue reading

Fishing boats are lines up on Oct. 3, 2022, at a dock at Kodiak’s St. Paul Harbor. Commercial fishing injuries and illnessness are not covered by workers’ compensation, so a state-managed Fishermen’s Fund serves as backstop payor for medical costs. A newly passed bill, if signed by the governor, would increase maximum allowable payments from the fund. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
The Alaska Legislature meets in a joint session Jan. 18 in a failed attempt to override a veto by Gov. Mike Dunleavy to education funding. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
The Alaska Legislature meets in a joint session Jan. 18 in a failed attempt to override a veto by Gov. Mike Dunleavy to education funding. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
The room where the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee holds its meeting sits empty on Tuesday. A presentation about an increase in the number of inmate deaths in state custody was abruptly canceled here. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Republican lawmakers shut down legislative hearing about deaths in Alaska prisons

Former commissioner: “All this will do, is it will continue to inflame passions of advocacy groups.”

The room where the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee holds its meeting sits empty on Tuesday. A presentation about an increase in the number of inmate deaths in state custody was abruptly canceled here. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, before presenting his bill that would increase internet speeds for rural Alaska schools to the Senate Finance Committee on Monday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Lawmakers approve faster internet speeds for Alaska’s rural school districts

The approval comes just days before a deadline to access federal grants

Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, before presenting his bill that would increase internet speeds for rural Alaska schools to the Senate Finance Committee on Monday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer, center, discusses budget legislation with her chief of staff, Remond Henderson, standing, and Reps. Neil Foster, D-Nome, left, and Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham on March 20, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

Draft House budget includes $2,272 PFD, $680 per-student education increase, $152 million surplus

Plan boosts dividends $444 by abandoning agreement to put half the amount in reserve fund.

Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer, center, discusses budget legislation with her chief of staff, Remond Henderson, standing, and Reps. Neil Foster, D-Nome, left, and Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham on March 20, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
House Rules Committee Chair Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, speaks in favor of House Bill 135 on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in the Alaska House. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House votes to give police warrantless emergency access to cellphone location data

Lawmakers pass other bills, on storage rentals, fireworks rules, telemedicine and federal lands.

House Rules Committee Chair Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, speaks in favor of House Bill 135 on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in the Alaska House. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Andrew Gray, D-Anchorage, gestures with his hands as he talks to Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Big Lake, about an amendment to raise the state’s age of consent on Friday in the Alaska House of Representatives. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

With handwritten amendment, Alaska House votes to raise state’s age of consent

Decision won’t be final until at least Monday, when House is scheduled to vote on underlying bill.

Rep. Andrew Gray, D-Anchorage, gestures with his hands as he talks to Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Big Lake, about an amendment to raise the state’s age of consent on Friday in the Alaska House of Representatives. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
A broadband tower on a mountaintop that is part of a network providing service to rural Alaska communities. (Cordova Telecom photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

House rushes to pass rural schools internet bill after veto of comprehensive education bill

Legislators work past midnight as school districts face Wednesday application deadline for program.

A broadband tower on a mountaintop that is part of a network providing service to rural Alaska communities. (Cordova Telecom photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Sen. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, speaks at a Tuesday news conference held by the Senate majority caucus. Claman has proposed a constitutional amendment to lower the threshold needed to override a veto by a governor of a spending bill. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska senators consider constitutional amendment easing some veto override votes

The Alaska Senate is moving closer to approving a state constitutional amendment that would lower the number of votes needed to override a governor’s veto… Continue reading

Sen. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, speaks at a Tuesday news conference held by the Senate majority caucus. Claman has proposed a constitutional amendment to lower the threshold needed to override a veto by a governor of a spending bill. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, speaks on March 28, 2023. He has sponsored a bill to make vandalism of a church a felony. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House votes to make church vandalism a felony; bill goes to Senate

Juneau Rep. Sara Hannan among dissenters in 35-5 vote, cites issues about property vs. hate crimes.

Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, speaks on March 28, 2023. He has sponsored a bill to make vandalism of a church a felony. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Ashley Carrick, D-Fairbanks, listens to debate in the Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House votes to remove some obstacles for birth control prescriptions

House Bill 17 allows women to buy up to 12 months’ worth of birth control pills at a time

Rep. Ashley Carrick, D-Fairbanks, listens to debate in the Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)