Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

 

This photo shows snow-covered hills in the Porcupine River Tundra in the Yukon Territories, Canada. In July 1997, a hunter contacted troopers in Fairbanks, Alaska, and reported finding a human skull along the Porcupine River, around 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the Canadian border. Investigators used genetic genealogy to help identify the remains as those of Gary Frank Sotherden, according to a statement Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, from Alaska State Troopers. (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer)

Skull found in ‘97 in Interior belongs to New York man

A skull found in a remote part of Alaska’s Interior in 1997 belongs to a New York man who likely died in a bear mauling,… Continue reading

 

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Daniel Winfree gets a standing ovation from the Alaska State Legislature as he enters the House chamber Wednesday to deliver his final State of the Judiciary speech. Winfree is stepping down next Monday when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Chief justice bids lawmakers a fervent farewell

Daniel Winfree, in State of Judiciary days before retirement, warns about mixing politics and courts

 

This Sunday, June 30, 2019, aerial photo released by Earthjustice shows the Alaska's North Slope in the Western Arctic on the edge of Teshekpuk Lake, Alaska. The Biden administration issued a long-awaited study on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, that recommends allowing a major oil development on Alaska's North Slope, and the move — while not final — drew immediate anger from environmentalists who saw it as a betrayal of the president's pledges to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean energy sources. (Kiliii Yuyan for Earthjustice via AP)

Biden administration takes step toward OK’ing Willow Project

Final decision expected no sooner than early March.

This Sunday, June 30, 2019, aerial photo released by Earthjustice shows the Alaska's North Slope in the Western Arctic on the edge of Teshekpuk Lake, Alaska. The Biden administration issued a long-awaited study on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, that recommends allowing a major oil development on Alaska's North Slope, and the move — while not final — drew immediate anger from environmentalists who saw it as a betrayal of the president's pledges to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean energy sources. (Kiliii Yuyan for Earthjustice via AP)
This combination image shows former Alaska Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin, left, and current director Neil Steininger presents portions of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budgets at the start of his first and second terms in 2019 and 2023, respectively. The two represent vastly different approaches the governor has taken in interacting with legislators at the start of those two terms. 
Michael Penn and Mark 
Sabbatini / Juneau Empire

A tale of two terms

Lawmakers say governor’s appointments, agenda vastly less confrontational this time.

This combination image shows former Alaska Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin, left, and current director Neil Steininger presents portions of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budgets at the start of his first and second terms in 2019 and 2023, respectively. The two represent vastly different approaches the governor has taken in interacting with legislators at the start of those two terms. 
Michael Penn and Mark 
Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
A worker with the Pebble Mine project digs in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska near the village of Iliamma, Alaska, July 13, 2007. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a decision Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, that would block plans for the proposed Pebble Mine, a copper and gold project in southwest Alaska. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)

Feds use rare veto to block Pebble Mine

Litigation is likely.

A worker with the Pebble Mine project digs in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska near the village of Iliamma, Alaska, July 13, 2007. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a decision Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, that would block plans for the proposed Pebble Mine, a copper and gold project in southwest Alaska. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
The Tazlina is docked at the Auke Bay ferry terminal in this November 2021 photo. Over a quarter of a billion dollars is on its way to fund six projects for the Alaska Marine Highway System via grant funding awarded by the Federal Transit Administration. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
The Tazlina is docked at the Auke Bay ferry terminal in this November 2021 photo. Over a quarter of a billion dollars is on its way to fund six projects for the Alaska Marine Highway System via grant funding awarded by the Federal Transit Administration. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Gov. Mike Dunleavy talks about his second-term agenda with members of the Alaska Chamber of Commerce, which is doing a two-day legislative fly-in this week, before his speech during the Juneau Chamber’s weekly luncheon Thursday. The speech and subsequent question period was at the Baranof Hotel to accommodate the extra out-of-town guests spending much of their time at the Alaska State Capitol, rather than the usual location at the Juneau Moose Lodge Family Center. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Big carbon and ‘small nukes’ are state’s future, governor says

Dunleavy sells business leaders on greenhouse gas cash, greenhouses with mini nuclear power plants

Gov. Mike Dunleavy talks about his second-term agenda with members of the Alaska Chamber of Commerce, which is doing a two-day legislative fly-in this week, before his speech during the Juneau Chamber’s weekly luncheon Thursday. The speech and subsequent question period was at the Baranof Hotel to accommodate the extra out-of-town guests spending much of their time at the Alaska State Capitol, rather than the usual location at the Juneau Moose Lodge Family Center. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Library Director Dave Berry and Advisory Board Chair Kate Finn participate in Library Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday Jan. 17, 2023, at Homer City Hall, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Emilie Springer/Homer News)

Homer Library Advisory Board upholds decision to retain LGBTQ+ books

A citizen’s group last year submitted a petition asking that the books be removed from the children’s section

Library Director Dave Berry and Advisory Board Chair Kate Finn participate in Library Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday Jan. 17, 2023, at Homer City Hall, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Emilie Springer/Homer News)
Alaska Department of Health Commissioner Heidi Hedberg explains why there is a major backlog of food stamp and Medicaid applications to the Senate Health And Resources Committee on Tuesday at the Alaska State Capitol. Part of the reason, shown on the slide during her presentation, is a computer system that uses 1959 technology and only one employee is currently qualified to program. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Food stamp, Medicaid backlogs still loom large

State lawmakers conduct first hearing into state’s struggles processing public assistance applicants.

Alaska Department of Health Commissioner Heidi Hedberg explains why there is a major backlog of food stamp and Medicaid applications to the Senate Health And Resources Committee on Tuesday at the Alaska State Capitol. Part of the reason, shown on the slide during her presentation, is a computer system that uses 1959 technology and only one employee is currently qualified to program. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file 
A sign marks the road entrance to the Mendenhall Glacier area of the Tongass National Forest. The Biden administration on Wednesday announced the Roadless Rule preventing logging and roads in about nine million acres of the 16.7-million-acre forest has been reinstated after former President Donald Trump repealed it in 2020.

Biden administration reinstates Tongass Roadless Rule

Miners and timber interests upset, environmentalists thrilled, Sen. Sullivan vows retaliation

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file 
A sign marks the road entrance to the Mendenhall Glacier area of the Tongass National Forest. The Biden administration on Wednesday announced the Roadless Rule preventing logging and roads in about nine million acres of the 16.7-million-acre forest has been reinstated after former President Donald Trump repealed it in 2020.
Jim Cockrell, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Public Safety, speaks in Wasilla at a May 3, 2022, news conference. Cockrell has ordered an investigation after troopers mistakenly took a school principal into custody for a mental health exam. (Photo by Yereth Rosen / Alaska Beacon)

Troopers, misled by false court order, detained principal for mental health check

State troopers mistakenly took Alaska’s 2022 Principal of the Year into custody…

Jim Cockrell, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Public Safety, speaks in Wasilla at a May 3, 2022, news conference. Cockrell has ordered an investigation after troopers mistakenly took a school principal into custody for a mental health exam. (Photo by Yereth Rosen / Alaska Beacon)
Smoke and haze fill the air to filter the view of downtown Juneau from Douglas Island on Friday, July 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Report: Southeast Alaska drought risk declining, but warming temps may amplify future impacts

“This is going to happen again, and if it gets warmer and not wetter things can go south.”

Smoke and haze fill the air to filter the view of downtown Juneau from Douglas Island on Friday, July 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
A student holds a sign during a rally at the steps of the Alaska State Capitol Monday evening in advocacy for an increase in the state’s flat funding via the Base Student Allocation. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
A student holds a sign during a rally at the steps of the Alaska State Capitol Monday evening in advocacy for an increase in the state’s flat funding via the Base Student Allocation. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Gov. Mike Dunleavy addresses state lawmakers and guests attending his State of the State speech Monday night before a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature at the Alaska State Capitol. The 50-minute speech was praised by many legislators are more positive and less confrontational than his first address four years ago. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Dunleavy urges cooperation to change course of state’s history

War on fentanyl, resilient Alaskans and “most pro-life-state” vow among State of the State highlights.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy addresses state lawmakers and guests attending his State of the State speech Monday night before a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature at the Alaska State Capitol. The 50-minute speech was praised by many legislators are more positive and less confrontational than his first address four years ago. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire 
Shannen Greene holds a sign at the Alaska State Capitol during Monday’s anti-abortion rally held by Alaskans for Life Inc.

Abortion protesters gather at state Capitol

Rally comes after anniversary of now-overturned Roe v. Wade.

Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire 
Shannen Greene holds a sign at the Alaska State Capitol during Monday’s anti-abortion rally held by Alaskans for Life Inc.
A by-mail ballot asks voters in 2020 to approve a measure calling for rank choice voting, which was approved. A petition is now circulating calling for another ballot measure to repeal rank choice, with the second-place candidates in both of Alaska’s most recent Congressional races among the most prominent supporters of the repeal. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

Ranked choice repeal petition begins circulating

Kelly Tshibaka joins Sarah Palin as election losers leading effort to return to traditional voting

A by-mail ballot asks voters in 2020 to approve a measure calling for rank choice voting, which was approved. A petition is now circulating calling for another ballot measure to repeal rank choice, with the second-place candidates in both of Alaska’s most recent Congressional races among the most prominent supporters of the repeal. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Gov. Mike Dunleavy poses for a photo with Gladys Castaños during an inaugural celebration for the governor and Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom on Friday night at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

All’s a ball for reelected governor

Dunleavy celebrates “peaceful transfer of power…to myself” at inaugural party Friday

Gov. Mike Dunleavy poses for a photo with Gladys Castaños during an inaugural celebration for the governor and Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom on Friday night at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A sign for a store that accepts food stamps and exchange benefits transfer cards is seen in this 2019 photo. Ten Alaskans are suing the state over its failure to provide food stamps within the time frames required by federal law. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images via Alaska Beacon)

Lawsuit says Alaska Department of Health exposed thousands to hunger risk by not giving food aid

Complaint filed Friday alleges some families have waited four months for nutrition assistance.

A sign for a store that accepts food stamps and exchange benefits transfer cards is seen in this 2019 photo. Ten Alaskans are suing the state over its failure to provide food stamps within the time frames required by federal law. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images via Alaska Beacon)
Moving boxes are stacked outside the offices of state Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, and former House Speaker Louise Stutes, a Kodiak Republican, on the second floor of the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday morning following their demotion to minority status after a Republican-led majority excluding Stutes was named Tuesday. As minority members, they will have no official say on the location of their new offices. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Moving day for House as committees set

Hannan, Bush Caucus get prized finance seats as Republican-led majority shakes up status quo.

Moving boxes are stacked outside the offices of state Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, and former House Speaker Louise Stutes, a Kodiak Republican, on the second floor of the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday morning following their demotion to minority status after a Republican-led majority excluding Stutes was named Tuesday. As minority members, they will have no official say on the location of their new offices. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)