Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO - Juneau

Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO - Juneau
Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at
Lawmakers in a meeting room.

Alaska legislative leaders say passing an on-time budget is a top priority this year

Some of the leaders want to see the Legislature pass a long-term plan for the state’s finances and permanent fund dividends. But they acknowledge there are significant obstacles in both the short and long term.
A meeting room with people in masks

On the session’s first day, Alaska lawmakers talk about working together

Last year’s session was marked by disagreements that nearly led to a partial state government shutdown, as well as differences over COVID-19 safety rules.
A sign says University of Alaska Anchorage in the snow

Alaska Legislature to support students’ lawsuit to maintain scholarship fund

A joint council of the House of Representatives and Senate on Monday approved filing a legal brief backing the lawsuit.
Three men sit around one side of a large wood table

Alaska lawmakers grill Permanent Fund Corp. chair Richards over firing of executive director Rodell

On Monday, members of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee met with the corporation’s board of trustees chair, Craig Richards, with the intent to better understand the decision. Richards maintained that Rodell was an at-will state employee but declined to give details about why she was fired. 
A photo of a multi-story building.

Alaska Legislative Council seeks to fund per diems after Gov. Dunleavy veto

The payments to lawmakers from outside of Juneau supplement their salaries and cover their living expenses during the session. They receive $293 per day. 
A ochre and white concrete building in a greay cloudy day

Alaska legislators seek to change campaign contribution limits, permanent fund trustees

One bill would prevent legislators from receiving per diem payments if they fail to pass a budget by the 121st day of regular session.
a Covid-19 swab specialist in medical gown, face mask, and face shield prepares to swab a traveler

Omicron wave hit Alaska this week, state health leaders say

Over the past five days, between 80% and 95% of COVID-19 cases screened by the state public health lab have had a marker associated with omicron.
The University of Alaska Anchorage campus on a sunny afternoon. The campus was largely empty.

University of Alaska students sue to protect fund for scholarships, medical education

Four University of Alaska students are suing the state government in an attempt to maintain a fund that pays for scholarships.
A ochre and white concrete building in a greay cloudy day

Commission votes to increase Alaska legislators’ salaries but lower overall compensation

Alaska lawmakers would receive significantly higher salaries but reduced overall compensation under a plan that could go into effect soon. And that’s raising concern with at least some lawmakers from both major parties. 
man in red jacket speaks in microphone

Dunleavy issues disaster declaration for Interior Alaska and Mat-Su storms

Extreme winds and cold temperatures have affected the areas. At one point over the weekend, 20,000 households in Mat-Su lost power. 
A ochre and white concrete building in a greay cloudy day

Proposal would cut Alaska legislators’ daily allowance during sessions

A member of a state commission that can change legislators’ pay proposed on Thursday that their expenses be limited to $12,000 per year. Legislators have averaged $29,481 in session expenses — known as “per diems” — over the last 12 years. 
man in red jacket speaks in microphone

Dunleavy’s latest budget proposal would fund $2,500 PFDs, public safety initiatives and big infrastructure projects

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has proposed a budget for the next fiscal year that would keep state spending similar to the current budget, while increasing the size of Permanent Fund dividends.
Man at podium between two flags

Dunleavy announces wide-ranging ‘People First’ initiative to address public safety in Alaska

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced a series of steps intended to reduce Alaska’s rates of domestic violence and sexual assault.
A map of alaska with different regions in different colors

Four lawsuits challenge Alaska Redistricting Board’s new legislative map

Four lawsuits have been filed against the Alaska Redistricting Board, seeking to change parts of the legislative map it adopted last month. Each lawsuit argues that communities were wrongly placed in the same district with other communities they have little in common with. 
A woman stands in front a of a pie chart.

Alaska legislators want answers after abrupt removal of Permanent Fund CEO

Angela Rodell took over as CEO of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation in 2015. The board voted to dismiss her on Thursday and has provided no answers as to why.
A woman in a grey sweater and short reddish hair gestures in front of a white man at a desk

Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. board votes to remove Angela Rodell from top post

Rodell had served in the position since 2015. It grew from $51 billion to $81 billion in that time.
people leaving a building under a sign that says "vote here."

Lt. Gov. Meyer defends handling of Alaska’s last election, as he and governor weigh the next one

Meyer is at the center of criticism from conservative voters in places like the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The lieutenant governor oversees elections. Conservatives are unhappy with how last year’s election was conducted.
People stand in a large foyer decorated for the holidays.

Gov. Dunleavy holds holiday open house in Juneau after missing last year’s due to the pandemic

The open house has been held every year since 1913, except for two years during World War II and last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A boat near a dock.

Alaska ferries add January sailings after lawmakers scramble to plan travel ahead of session

Some Alaska lawmakers and aides who normally take a ferry to Juneau for the legislative session found themselves scrambling to make alternative travel plans last week after finding out that the Matanuska state ferry would not be back in service before the new year, as originally planned. 
A group of kids sit underneath a deck.

New report could guide how Alaska spends $1.5B in federal funding for broadband

Providing every Alaskan with a high-speed internet connection is a challenge, considering the state’s far-flung geography and extreme weather. But the new federal infrastructure law has $1.5 billion for broadband in Alaska. And that could help the state reach its goal.