Alaska Legislature

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)
Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, left, speaks with Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, as the House Finance Committee meets on how to pay for SB54, a criminal justice bill, at the Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Lawmakers amend SB 54 as measure nears House floor vote

Stealing a new iPhone may land someone in jail for felony theft if a new version of Senate Bill 54 becomes law. In a marathon… Continue reading

Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, left, speaks with Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, as the House Finance Committee meets on how to pay for SB54, a criminal justice bill, at the Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, left, and Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, listen to Suzanne DiPietro, Executive Director of the Alaska Judicial Council, as the House Finance Committee meets on how to pay for SB54, a criminal justice bill, at the Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Cost of criminal justice rollback is big unknown

As the Alaska House of Representatives advances toward a vote on Senate Bill 54, lawmakers are missing one critical piece of information: the price tag.… Continue reading

Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, left, and Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, listen to Suzanne DiPietro, Executive Director of the Alaska Judicial Council, as the House Finance Committee meets on how to pay for SB54, a criminal justice bill, at the Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, speaks to the media after Gov. Bill Walker announced his Public Safety Action Plan during a press conference at the Capitol on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Walker asks for balanced budget as tool to fight crime

Gov. Bill Walker called the Alaska Legislature into its fourth special session of the year and put taxes and criminal justice on the agenda. While… Continue reading

Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, speaks to the media after Gov. Bill Walker announced his Public Safety Action Plan during a press conference at the Capitol on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Crime stays atop agenda as Legislature enters second week of special session

As the Alaska Legislature begins its second week of special session, all eyes will remain on the criminal justice measure known as Senate Bill 54.… Continue reading

In this February 2016 photo, Angela Rodell speaks to the Senate State Affairs Committee about SB 114 at the Capitol. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

A shaken titan: How the Alaska Legislature is harming the Alaska Permanent Fund

The Alaska Permanent Fund is a $62 billion titan. It spans the world. It owns half of the largest shopping mall in northern Virginia. It… Continue reading

In this February 2016 photo, Angela Rodell speaks to the Senate State Affairs Committee about SB 114 at the Capitol. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

House Judiciary Committee calls for tougher jail sentences, but costs will rise

Senate Bill 54 is advancing in the Alaska House of Representatives. Late Thursday night, the House Judiciary Committee moved the bill to the House Finance… Continue reading

Rep. Daniel Ortiz, NA-Ketchikan, left, Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, center, and Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kotzebue, greet each other on the first day of the fourth Special Session of the 30th Alaska Legisture on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017.

From across Alaska, residents try to sway Legislature on SB 54

The calls came from Bethel, Nome and Fairbanks. There were plenty from Anchorage and the Mat-Su, and some from Southeast. On Tuesday night, members of… Continue reading

Rep. Daniel Ortiz, NA-Ketchikan, left, Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, center, and Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kotzebue, greet each other on the first day of the fourth Special Session of the 30th Alaska Legisture on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017.
House Finance Committee members Rep. Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks, left, Rep. David Guttenberg, D-Fairbanks, center, and Rep. Jason Grenn, NA-Anchorage, listen to 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)

Analysis shows state will exhaust main savings account within two years

Unless legislators act, the state of Alaska will run out of money sometime in late 2018 or early 2019. In a pair of presentations Tuesday… Continue reading

House Finance Committee members Rep. Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks, left, Rep. David Guttenberg, D-Fairbanks, center, and Rep. Jason Grenn, NA-Anchorage, listen to 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)
Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, left, Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, center, and Sen. Click Bishop, Fairbanks, question Commissioner of the Department of Corrections Dean Williams in Senate Finance Committee at the Capitol on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Analysis: Why there’s ‘0 percent’ chance the Legislature addresses deficit this year

On taxes, the gap between the coalition majority that runs the Alaska House of Representatives and the predominantly Republican Senate Majority can literally be measured… Continue reading

Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, left, Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, center, and Sen. Click Bishop, Fairbanks, question Commissioner of the Department of Corrections Dean Williams in Senate Finance Committee at the Capitol on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, left, and Senate Majority Leader Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, speak before gaveling in on the first day of the fourth Special Session of the 30th Alaska Legisture on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

As special session starts, House puts criminal justice bill on fast track

It started slowly, but the fourth special session of the 30th Alaska Legislature appeared to be on a fast track by the end of its… Continue reading

Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, left, and Senate Majority Leader Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, speak before gaveling in on the first day of the fourth Special Session of the 30th Alaska Legisture on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Fourth special session starts today, but no new hope for fiscal fix

Gov. Bill Walker called a fourth special session of the Alaska Legislature to address the state’s fiscal crisis. The crisis may be one of the… Continue reading

Lawmakers hold hearings Monday on pipeline, SB 91 rollback

In a pair of hearings Monday, the Alaska Legislature will consider the past and the future. At 10 a.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hear… Continue reading

In this July 2015 photo, Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, speaks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce at the Juneau International Airport. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau’s legislators will hold a town hall before special session

If you’re concerned about crime or the state’s fiscal health, Juneau lawmakers want to hear from you. Juneau’s three delegates to the Alaska Legislature will… Continue reading

In this July 2015 photo, Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, speaks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce at the Juneau International Airport. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Alaska mayors again plead for Legislature to fix deficit

For the past two years, mayors across Alaska have pleaded for the Alaska Legislature to do something — anything — to solve the state’s multibillion-dollar… Continue reading