Alaska Legislature

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Alaska House votes to boost unemployment benefits

The Alaska House of Representatives has voted along caucus lines to boost unemployment benefits statewide. In a floor session Wednesday morning, the House voted 22-16… Continue reading

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Juneau-Douglas High School student Theo Houck, left, leads a cheer as student participate in the National School Walk Out on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. The students marched from school to the Capitol in support of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting one month ago. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Hundreds of Juneau high schoolers join nationwide protest on Florida shooting’s anniversary

Inside the Alaska State Capitol, a shout echoed in the stairwell: “The kids are coming!” Outside the building was a louder shout, one that reverberated… Continue reading

Juneau-Douglas High School student Theo Houck, left, leads a cheer as student participate in the National School Walk Out on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. The students marched from school to the Capitol in support of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting one month ago. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Alaskans scorchingly reject Permanent Fund amendment

A proposal to enshrine the Permanent Fund Dividend in the Alaska Constitution met scorching opposition in public testimony Monday and Tuesday as Alaskans picked apart… Continue reading

Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, speaks about House Bill 321 on Monday, March 12, 2018 on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Alaska House approves stopgap ferry, Medicaid funding bill

The Alaska House of Representatives has passed a stopgap funding bill to keep the Alaska Marine Highway and state Medicaid program operating. In a 32-7… Continue reading

Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, speaks about House Bill 321 on Monday, March 12, 2018 on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

State officials warn Medicaid money will run out by month’s end

Alaska’s Medicaid health insurance program will run out of money as soon as the end of March, state officials are warning. Unless the Alaska Legislature… Continue reading

In this June 2016 photo, Juneau residents attend a vigil at Marine Park. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

LGBTQ equal rights bill advances in Alaska House, marking a first for the state

When Kasey Casort was a 14-year-old high schooler in 2013, she was so struck by a piece of legislation that she printed it out and… Continue reading

In this June 2016 photo, Juneau residents attend a vigil at Marine Park. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Bethel’s Tiffany Zulkosky is sworn in, bringing Alaska Legislature to full strength

Bethel has a new lawmaker. In an extended ceremony Friday morning, Democratic Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky was sworn in to replace Zach Fansler, who resigned in… Continue reading

The Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire File)

Restored to full strength, Alaska House of Representatives will begin to move legislation

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky as R-Bethel; it should have been D-Bethel. This article has been updated to reflect the… Continue reading

The Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire File)

Alaska Senate approves youth e-cigarette ban

The Alaska Senate has voted 18-0 to prohibit the sales of e-cigarettes and vaporizers to Alaskans under 19 years old. Senate Bill 15, proposed by… Continue reading

Capital City Fire/Rescue workers return gear to an emergency vehicle in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Thursday afternoon, March 8, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Alaska lawmaker collapses, rushed to hospital

Rep. David Guttenberg, D-Fairbanks, was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital by ambulance Tuesday afternoon after collapsing in his office. Emergency calls taken by Capital City… Continue reading

Capital City Fire/Rescue workers return gear to an emergency vehicle in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Thursday afternoon, March 8, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)
From left to right, Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, and Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau, are seen during an at-ease during Wednesday’s floor session of the Alaska House of Representatives. (Mike Mason | Alaska House Majority)

With two members absent, Alaska House stumbles on militia vote

A bill to reform the command structure of the Alaska’s state militia unexpectedly failed to pass the Alaska House of Representatives on Wednesday morning as… Continue reading

From left to right, Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, and Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau, are seen during an at-ease during Wednesday’s floor session of the Alaska House of Representatives. (Mike Mason | Alaska House Majority)

Alaska Senate committee advances tighter spending cap

A proposal to more firmly cap the state budget is advancing in the Alaska Senate. On Tuesday afternoon, boosted by public testimony firmly in support,… Continue reading

As Washington state approves bill, Net Neutrality proposal advances in Alaska Legislature

On the same day the Washington state legislature approved first-of-its-kind Net Neutrality legislation, a similar measure advanced in the Alaska Legislature. House Bill 277, sponsored… Continue reading

People fill the chairs in the gallery of the House Finance Committee on Friday, March 2, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

In public testimony, Juneau residents ask lawmakers for more education help

Some Juneau residents are urging the Alaska Legislature to boost funding for education and programs helping Alaskans released from prison. In public testimony given Friday… Continue reading

People fill the chairs in the gallery of the House Finance Committee on Friday, March 2, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)
An electronic board in the chambers of the Alaska Senate shows the tally for House Bill 298 on Monday, March 5, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Legislature approves third Superior Court judge position in Juneau

The Alaska Legislature has approved a proposal by the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court and Gov. Bill Walker to add a third superior… Continue reading

An electronic board in the chambers of the Alaska Senate shows the tally for House Bill 298 on Monday, March 5, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)
The desk of Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage, is seen vacant Monday, March 5, 2018. Spohnholz said she had been diagnosed with complications from a pulmonary embolism and will be absent from the capitol until Monday. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Illness, injury keep House Majority short of votes to advance key legislation

Alaskans angry about the pace of the Alaska Legislature this year may focus their ire on a new target: The flu. On Monday, the Alaska… Continue reading

The desk of Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage, is seen vacant Monday, March 5, 2018. Spohnholz said she had been diagnosed with complications from a pulmonary embolism and will be absent from the capitol until Monday. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)
The Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire File)

House committee expected to move budget this week

The Alaska House Finance Committee, coming off three days of public testimony from Alaskans across the state, will put the finishing touches on its draft… Continue reading

The Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire File)
Rep. John Lincoln, D-Kotzebue, walks to his seat after being sworn into office by Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, in the House chambers on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. Rep. Lincoln is filling the open seat left by former Rep. Dean Westlake, who resigned in December after female aides accused him of unwanted touching and inappropriate comments. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Three new lawmakers face big adjustments and high stakes

As a pilot for FedEx, Mike Shower is used to picking up a bag and jetting out on a moment’s notice. He keeps one packed… Continue reading

Rep. John Lincoln, D-Kotzebue, walks to his seat after being sworn into office by Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, in the House chambers on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. Rep. Lincoln is filling the open seat left by former Rep. Dean Westlake, who resigned in December after female aides accused him of unwanted touching and inappropriate comments. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)
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Alaska Senate bill targets vaping by those under 19

The Alaska Senate is nearing a vote on a measure to make all vaping illegal for anyone younger than 19 years old. Senate Bill 15,… Continue reading

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Legislature passes insurance bill amid warnings of higher costs for the elderly, poor

The Alaska Legislature has approved a measure that minority Senate Democrats say will result in higher auto insurance costs for rural Alaskans, racial minorities, the… Continue reading