Nayeli Hood, 10, foreground, and Ona Eckerson, 9, testify against a bill limiting sex and gender content in schools during a House Education Committee meeting Thursday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Testimony gets colorful on ‘parental rights’ bill

Opponents of restricting sex and gender content in schools dominate five-hour hearing

Nayeli Hood, 10, foreground, and Ona Eckerson, 9, testify against a bill limiting sex and gender content in schools during a House Education Committee meeting Thursday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
An ice-covered ConocoPhillips sign is displayed at the Colville-Delta 5, or as it's more commonly known, CD5, drilling site on Alaska's North Slope, Feb. 9, 2016. Construction can proceed related to a major oil project on Alaska’s petroleum-rich North Slope after a federal judge on Monday, April 3, 2023, rejected requests to halt work until challenges to the Biden administration’s recent approval are resolved. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)

Alaska oil plan opponents lose 1st fight over Willow project

Judge said the groups did not succeed in showing it would cause irreparable harm before she makes a decision on the merits of the cases.

An ice-covered ConocoPhillips sign is displayed at the Colville-Delta 5, or as it's more commonly known, CD5, drilling site on Alaska's North Slope, Feb. 9, 2016. Construction can proceed related to a major oil project on Alaska’s petroleum-rich North Slope after a federal judge on Monday, April 3, 2023, rejected requests to halt work until challenges to the Biden administration’s recent approval are resolved. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)
This map shows the location of the Willow oil-drilling project in Alaska’s Western Arctic, which the Biden administration approved March 13. (Associated Press)

Willow-related construction allowed as lawsuits play out

ConocoPhillips Alaska can forge ahead with cold-weather construction work.

This map shows the location of the Willow oil-drilling project in Alaska’s Western Arctic, which the Biden administration approved March 13. (Associated Press)
Ed Sniffen, former acting attorney general for Alaska, appears in an Anchorage courtroom for an evidentiary hearing on Jan. 5, 2023. Sniffen was indicted in September 2022 on three felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor in 1991. On Friday, March 31, 2023, a judge dismissed the sex abuse case against Sniffen, citing the statute of limitations in place when the alleged abuse happened over 30 years earlier. (Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News)

Sex abuse case against ex-Alaska attorney general thrown out

A judge cited the statute of limitations in dismissing the case.

Ed Sniffen, former acting attorney general for Alaska, appears in an Anchorage courtroom for an evidentiary hearing on Jan. 5, 2023. Sniffen was indicted in September 2022 on three felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor in 1991. On Friday, March 31, 2023, a judge dismissed the sex abuse case against Sniffen, citing the statute of limitations in place when the alleged abuse happened over 30 years earlier. (Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News)
This March 28, 2023, photo shows Bruce Boolowon, left, posing with Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, the adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, during a ceremony in Gambell, Alaska. Saxe presented Alaska Heroism Medals to Boolowon, the last surviving guardsman who helped rescue 11 Navy crewmen after they crash landed on St. Lawrence Island on June 22, 1955, and to the family members of 15 other guardsman who are now deceased. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)

Alaska Native Scouts honored 67 years after rescuing Navy crew

“I’m glad we did our duty as a guardsman.”

This March 28, 2023, photo shows Bruce Boolowon, left, posing with Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, the adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, during a ceremony in Gambell, Alaska. Saxe presented Alaska Heroism Medals to Boolowon, the last surviving guardsman who helped rescue 11 Navy crewmen after they crash landed on St. Lawrence Island on June 22, 1955, and to the family members of 15 other guardsman who are now deceased. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)
Vera Metcalf stands on Wednesday by a chunk of sea ice transported from Utqiagvik and displayed at the Arctic Encounter Symposium. The melting ice, which started at 310 pounds, symbolizes the rapid climate change that is weaking the Arctic ice pack, with profound implications for ecosystems, communties and cultures. (Photo by Yereth Rosen / Alaska Beacon)

Sea ice, critical to ecosystems and communities, looms large at Alaska conference

Suspended in netting in a downtown Anchorage building is a potent symbol of Arctic climate change: a chunk of sea ice that started at 310… Continue reading

Vera Metcalf stands on Wednesday by a chunk of sea ice transported from Utqiagvik and displayed at the Arctic Encounter Symposium. The melting ice, which started at 310 pounds, symbolizes the rapid climate change that is weaking the Arctic ice pack, with profound implications for ecosystems, communties and cultures. (Photo by Yereth Rosen / Alaska Beacon)
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
State Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, inquires about election legislation during a committee hearing Tuesday at the Alaska State Capitol. Carpenter, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, is sponsoring bills to decrease business taxes and implement a 2% statewide sales tax that got hearings this week.
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
State Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, inquires about election legislation during a committee hearing Tuesday at the Alaska State Capitol. Carpenter, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, is sponsoring bills to decrease business taxes and implement a 2% statewide sales tax that got hearings this week.
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
State representatives Rebecca Himschoot, I-Sitka, left, and Andi Story, D-Juneau, discuss a proposal requiring school districts to maintain a public online checkbook with Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton, the bill’s sponsor, during a break in a House Education Committee meeting Wednesday. The two Southeast Alaska representatives expressed concerns about cyber security and small remote districts that do not have official websites.

Lawmakers try to fill in some blanks in ‘online checkbook’ for schools bill

Proposed online register raises questions about practicality, cyberattacks, offline districts.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
State representatives Rebecca Himschoot, I-Sitka, left, and Andi Story, D-Juneau, discuss a proposal requiring school districts to maintain a public online checkbook with Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton, the bill’s sponsor, during a break in a House Education Committee meeting Wednesday. The two Southeast Alaska representatives expressed concerns about cyber security and small remote districts that do not have official websites.
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks during a meeting of the House State Affairs committee on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Kenai area lawmakers set sights on financial fixes

KENAI — The central Kenai Peninsula’s representatives in the Alaska House of Representatives have their eyes on state finances this week. Reps. Justin Ruffridge, a… Continue reading

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks during a meeting of the House State Affairs committee on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Bethany Marcum, executive director of the Alaska Policy Forum, responds to questions from the Senate Education Committee on Friday about her nomination to the University of Alaska’s Board of Regents. Her organization’s conservative policies, including backing a budget by Gov. Mike Dunleavy that proposed a 40% cut to the university system, made her the most controversial of the governor’s four nominees to the board.

Lawmakers question university board nominee who supported UA budget cut

Bethany Marcum, head of conservative think tank, hears from scathing doubters and glowing supporters

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Bethany Marcum, executive director of the Alaska Policy Forum, responds to questions from the Senate Education Committee on Friday about her nomination to the University of Alaska’s Board of Regents. Her organization’s conservative policies, including backing a budget by Gov. Mike Dunleavy that proposed a 40% cut to the university system, made her the most controversial of the governor’s four nominees to the board.
President Joe Biden speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2023, celebrating the 13th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Recent moves by President Joe Biden to pressure TikTok over its Chinese ownership and approve oil drilling in an untapped area of Alaska are testing the loyalty of young voters, a group that’s been largely in his corner. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Biden’s moves on Willow, TikTok test young voters

A potential TikTok ban and the Alaska drilling could weigh down reelection bid.

President Joe Biden speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2023, celebrating the 13th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Recent moves by President Joe Biden to pressure TikTok over its Chinese ownership and approve oil drilling in an untapped area of Alaska are testing the loyalty of young voters, a group that’s been largely in his corner. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
A ConocoPhillips sign covered in ice at the Colville-Delta 5, or as it's more commonly known, CD5, is seen at a drilling site on Alaska's North Slope on Feb. 9, 2016. ConocoPhillips has detailed reasons and remedies following a natural gas leak last year on the North Slope that caused 300 employees to be evacuated. Company officials spoke Thursday, March 23, 2023, during an Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission hearing into the leak at its Alpine field. It said pumping 170 barrels of diesel fuel into a disposal well to prevent freezing caused a component to fail. The leak went unnoticed for days but was corrected. A company official says no one was harmed by the leak. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)

ConocoPhillips details gas leak cause, remedies at hearing

ANCHORAGE — ConocoPhillips, which last week received U.S. government approval for the massive Willow oil drilling project in Alaska, detailed reasons for a natural gas… Continue reading

A ConocoPhillips sign covered in ice at the Colville-Delta 5, or as it's more commonly known, CD5, is seen at a drilling site on Alaska's North Slope on Feb. 9, 2016. ConocoPhillips has detailed reasons and remedies following a natural gas leak last year on the North Slope that caused 300 employees to be evacuated. Company officials spoke Thursday, March 23, 2023, during an Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission hearing into the leak at its Alpine field. It said pumping 170 barrels of diesel fuel into a disposal well to prevent freezing caused a component to fail. The leak went unnoticed for days but was corrected. A company official says no one was harmed by the leak. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)
Kuspuks of varying colors displayed at a tribal consultation meeting in Anchorage on Sept. 21 represent Indigenous victims of violence. From left, the colors are red for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, orange for victims of boarding schools, the baby kuspuk for children who will never be born, purple for victims of domestic violence, turquoise for victims of sexual assault, multicolor for LGBTQ victims and black for men who are victims. The kuspuks were arrayed at the Justice Department's annual tribal consultation conference required under the Violence Against Woman Act. In testimony Wednesday to the state House Tribal Affairs Special Committee, members of a working group listed several practical steps they said could improve safety of Indigenous people. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Budget items and policy changes recommended to help protect Indigenous women and girls

Dangers can be addressed through the budget and through other practical actions, activists said.

Kuspuks of varying colors displayed at a tribal consultation meeting in Anchorage on Sept. 21 represent Indigenous victims of violence. From left, the colors are red for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, orange for victims of boarding schools, the baby kuspuk for children who will never be born, purple for victims of domestic violence, turquoise for victims of sexual assault, multicolor for LGBTQ victims and black for men who are victims. The kuspuks were arrayed at the Justice Department's annual tribal consultation conference required under the Violence Against Woman Act. In testimony Wednesday to the state House Tribal Affairs Special Committee, members of a working group listed several practical steps they said could improve safety of Indigenous people. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
From left to right, House Majority Leader Dan Saddler, R-Eagle River; Speaker of the House Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla; and Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla; listen to House Clerk Kris Jones during a break in the session of the Alaska House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. (Photo by James Brooks / Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House votes more funding to fix food-stamp crisis, prevent budget trouble

Bill includes $6.8 million to immediately address a crisis in the state’s food-stamp program.

From left to right, House Majority Leader Dan Saddler, R-Eagle River; Speaker of the House Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla; and Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla; listen to House Clerk Kris Jones during a break in the session of the Alaska House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. (Photo by James Brooks / Alaska Beacon)
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Alaska residents, many of them part of an Americans for Prosperity delegation from outside Juneau, wait to testify during a House Education Committee meeting Tuesday night. Most of the people in the room opposed increasing public education spending, while a majority of residents testifying online spoke in favor of an increase.

Public, lawmakers go to school over budget

Feisty testimony offered by residents statewide and legislators respond in kind

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Alaska residents, many of them part of an Americans for Prosperity delegation from outside Juneau, wait to testify during a House Education Committee meeting Tuesday night. Most of the people in the room opposed increasing public education spending, while a majority of residents testifying online spoke in favor of an increase.
Office Max at the Nugget Mall in the Mendenhall Valley advertised Permanent Fund dividend sales in July 2020. Alaskans have until the end of the month to apply for the PFD. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

PFD application deadline is next week

Amount in flux as state revenue forecasts lower than expected.

Office Max at the Nugget Mall in the Mendenhall Valley advertised Permanent Fund dividend sales in July 2020. Alaskans have until the end of the month to apply for the PFD. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol, where lawmakers are mulling several bills related to discussion of sex and gender in public schools. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol, where lawmakers are mulling several bills related to discussion of sex and gender in public schools. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer, center, discusses details of the proposed state budget for next year as modified by the House Finance Committee she co-chairs with Reps. Neil Foster, D-Nome, left, and Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham. Assisting Johnson is her chief of staff Remond Henderson. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

House budget’s biggest change is a smaller PFD

Large deficit in governor’s budget drives dividend lower, poor oil price forecast may mean other cuts

Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer, center, discusses details of the proposed state budget for next year as modified by the House Finance Committee she co-chairs with Reps. Neil Foster, D-Nome, left, and Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham. Assisting Johnson is her chief of staff Remond Henderson. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
On Thursday, the Alaska State Board of Education approved a resolution that supports barring transgender female students from participating in girls’ sports. (Getty Images illustration via Alaska Beacon)

State school board supports barring transgender female students from participating in girls’ sports

On Thursday, the Alaska State Board of Education approved a resolution that supports barring transgender female students from participating in girls’ sports. The resolution supported… Continue reading

On Thursday, the Alaska State Board of Education approved a resolution that supports barring transgender female students from participating in girls’ sports. (Getty Images illustration via Alaska Beacon)
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
State Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, asks Randy Bates, director of the Division of Water for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, about state water quality regulations some fish hatcheries are calling harmful during a Senate Finance Committee meeting Friday. The meeting was to review the DEC’s proposal to take over responsibility for many federal Clean Water Act permits, claiming it will be more responsible and efficient for development projects. Some of the senators questioned both the cost of the state taking over a process currently funded by the federal government, as well as the state’s ability to properly due to the job within the guidelines for such a takeover.

Wading into rule change proposals affecting clean water

National PFAS limits, state takeover of wetlands permits raise doubts about who should take charge

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
State Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, asks Randy Bates, director of the Division of Water for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, about state water quality regulations some fish hatcheries are calling harmful during a Senate Finance Committee meeting Friday. The meeting was to review the DEC’s proposal to take over responsibility for many federal Clean Water Act permits, claiming it will be more responsible and efficient for development projects. Some of the senators questioned both the cost of the state taking over a process currently funded by the federal government, as well as the state’s ability to properly due to the job within the guidelines for such a takeover.