People rally in support of renewable energy policies, such as strengthening a renewable energy fund, across from the Alaska Capitol on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. Some environmentalists are skeptical of legislation proposed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy that aims to capitalize on carbon storage and carbon markets. (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer)

Alaska carbon plan: Boost state coffers without cutting oil

Hearings with state lawmakers are underway…

People rally in support of renewable energy policies, such as strengthening a renewable energy fund, across from the Alaska Capitol on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. Some environmentalists are skeptical of legislation proposed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy that aims to capitalize on carbon storage and carbon markets. (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer)
Gov. Ernest Gruening (seated) signs the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945. Witnessing are O. D. Cochran, Elizabeth Peratrovich, Edward Anderson, Norman Walker and Roy Peratrovich. (Courtesy Photo / Alaska State Library - Historical Collections)

Officials honor Elizabeth Peratrovich day with proclamations

With physical gatherings limited, virtual events and statements marked the day.

Gov. Ernest Gruening (seated) signs the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945. Witnessing are O. D. Cochran, Elizabeth Peratrovich, Edward Anderson, Norman Walker and Roy Peratrovich. (Courtesy Photo / Alaska State Library - Historical Collections)
Members of the Alaska State Legislature listen to U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan’s annual speech in the House chamber last week. Sullivan, fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and several Alaska Native leaders on Tuesday urged the federal government to approve the Willow project. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)

Alaska Native leaders, U.S. senators back major Willow project

They cast it as economically critical for Indigenous communities, important for energy security.

Members of the Alaska State Legislature listen to U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan’s annual speech in the House chamber last week. Sullivan, fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and several Alaska Native leaders on Tuesday urged the federal government to approve the Willow project. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
This July 24, 2018, file photo shows a portion of the 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan File)

Local tax pros share advice following IRS announcement

“You put the amendment in after you get your refund.”

This July 24, 2018, file photo shows a portion of the 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan File)
Alaska House Speaker Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, accepts a Valentine’s Day card from a Montessori Borealis preschool student in the hallway outside the House chamber at the Alaska State Capitol on Monday. A couple dozen youths from the Juneau Montessori program visited with their parents and teachers during the morning, lobbying for an increase in education funding. Tilton said during a subsequent press briefing she is not ruling out an increase, but is interested in “outside the box” alternatives. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

What’s in the cards for education funding

Major players at Alaska’s Capitol are showing their hands, but lots of bids and buffs remain.

Alaska House Speaker Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, accepts a Valentine’s Day card from a Montessori Borealis preschool student in the hallway outside the House chamber at the Alaska State Capitol on Monday. A couple dozen youths from the Juneau Montessori program visited with their parents and teachers during the morning, lobbying for an increase in education funding. Tilton said during a subsequent press briefing she is not ruling out an increase, but is interested in “outside the box” alternatives. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Supporters of a bill that would allow child care providers to participate in collective bargaining with the state’s Department of Health and establish a state fund to provide grants to childcare providers stand outside the Alaska State Capitol early Friday evening. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Child care providers rally outside Capitol in support of increased funding

Supporters say new bill would provide necessary support and resources

Supporters of a bill that would allow child care providers to participate in collective bargaining with the state’s Department of Health and establish a state fund to provide grants to childcare providers stand outside the Alaska State Capitol early Friday evening. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
The Columbia ferry, which was grounded in 2019 to save costs, is scheduled to return to Juneau next weekend as it resumes service between Alaska and Bellingham, Washington, due to a more-extensive-than-expected overhaul of the Matanuska. The ferry system is by far the biggest recipient to date of funds from the 2021 federal infrastructure bill in terms of Southeast Alaska impacts. (Carey Case / Alaska Marine Highway)

Trillion dollar maybes: Coordinated approach aims to untangle complicated federal funding web

State, tribal and local governments using “hub” plans to simplify and maximize Alaska’s share.

The Columbia ferry, which was grounded in 2019 to save costs, is scheduled to return to Juneau next weekend as it resumes service between Alaska and Bellingham, Washington, due to a more-extensive-than-expected overhaul of the Matanuska. The ferry system is by far the biggest recipient to date of funds from the 2021 federal infrastructure bill in terms of Southeast Alaska impacts. (Carey Case / Alaska Marine Highway)
Senate pages Jenna Carpenter and Zaxon Tomaszewski play “Off To The Races” outside the Senate Chambers exactly 15 minutes before the start of the floor session. Pages then perform the tones alerting senators the session is about to start on all floors of the Capitol where the legislators have offices. The House relies on an electronic bell notification that plays the famous clock chime “Westminster Quarters.” (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The ABCs of the 33rd Legislature

Legislative business isn’t always as simple as 1-2-3.

Senate pages Jenna Carpenter and Zaxon Tomaszewski play “Off To The Races” outside the Senate Chambers exactly 15 minutes before the start of the floor session. Pages then perform the tones alerting senators the session is about to start on all floors of the Capitol where the legislators have offices. The House relies on an electronic bell notification that plays the famous clock chime “Westminster Quarters.” (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan addresses a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature in the House chambers on Tuesday. The Republican senator, appearing on the same day as Democratic President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech (and thus absent from it), criticized the administration on issues ranging from drugs to opposing resource development in Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Sullivan applauds, denounces feds in speech to Legislature

Senator praises ferry funds and monitoring of China’s balloon, fears Biden limiting oil project.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan addresses a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature in the House chambers on Tuesday. The Republican senator, appearing on the same day as Democratic President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech (and thus absent from it), criticized the administration on issues ranging from drugs to opposing resource development in Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
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.

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)
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

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)
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

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)
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.