Dave Donaldson, APRN - Juneau

ddonaldson (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.586.6948 | About Dave

Slow Work Cleaning Up Old Wells in NPR-A

The federal Bureau of Land Management says that it has already cleaned up two of what are called Legacy Wells this year in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska. But work on a third one is unlikely this year unless another avenue of funding comes through.

Public Safety No Longer Controls Alcohol

The Legislature has decided that regulating alcohol should no longer be the job of the Department of Public Safety. The Alcohol Beverage Control Board was transferred to the Department of Commerce in a bill that the governor signed earlier this month.

State Challenges Federal Voting Rights Requirement

The Department of Law has weighed in on a suit in federal court aimed at stopping the Division of Elections from preparing for future elections until all challenges to the new Redistricting Plan are settled.

State will apply for No Child Left Behind waivers

The state is asking the Obama Administration for waivers from the national standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act. The act went into effect during 2001 and has drawn bipartisan criticism for demanding a one-size-fits-all standard for Alaskans.

Lawmakers Discuss Issues with Redistricting Plan

The Legislative Ethics Committee today (Thursday) partially resolved a question from candidates and voters concerned about their representation after the effects of redistricting kick in. The five public and four legislative members of the panel...

IEGs Introduce New Element To Alaska Campaign Funding

Alaskans will see a new element in state politics this year – an unlimited amount of money. The money will come from Independent Expenditure Groups or IEGs. Those IEGs are organizations that work outside a candidate’s regulated campaign – and, because of a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, work outside of the legal limits and restrictions the state had imposed on donors and campaigns in previous elections.

Redistricting Board Chairman Says Fair Plan In Place For Year’s Elections

The chairman of the state’s Redistricting Board says that although there’s still not a final plan on the books yet, voters have a fair plan ready for this year’s elections.

Most Elections Find Challengers as Election Lists Close

Most of the uncontested races from last week had disappeared by Friday’s filing deadline – as 149 candidates decided to put their names on the ballot for the party primary elections in August and the general election in November.

Governor Signs One Bill Encouraging Movies, Gas and Oil, Fuel Tanks and High Tech

Governor Parnell today signed one of the most far-reaching bills of this year’s regular session – a large package of four separate pieces of legislation that were combined in the closing hours.

PFD To Invest In Rentals

The Fund’s Trustees have approved an investment in American Homes For Rent, a company that buys packages of single-family homes – including foreclosures – and manages them as rental units. The Permanent Fund would own as much as 80 percent of the company that already owns more than 1,000 houses nationally. The Fund’s Executive Director Mike Burns says the company sees some changing demographic groups that want alternatives to a home investment.

Mountaineer Dies After 2,000 Foot Fall Down Denali

A Finnish man died from injuries he received Wednesday skiing down Mount McKinley in Denali National Park. Ilkka Uusitalo fell while on the area known as the Orient Express – a 40-45 degree slope just below the 18,000 foot level. Maureen McLaughlin, Public Information Officer for the Talkeetna Ranger Station says his fall ended about 2,000 feet lower at the bottom of a 60 foot crevasse.

Governor Signs Bill Giving Easier Access to Juvenile Criminal Records

It will be easier to get court records of juvenile offenders under a law the governor signed today.

DNR Terminates North Slope Lease

The Department of Natural Resources has notified Alaskan Crude Corporation -- a Texas-based oil company -- that it will end the unit agreement and the state lease on more than six thousand acres near Deadhorse.

Governor Signs Budgets and Bonds

The state’s spending instructions for next year have been set as Governor Parnell today vetoed very little from more than $12-Billion in operating and capital projects budgets the legislature approved last month.

Texting While Driving Now Illegal in Alaska

Governor Parnell today (Thursday) put the final touches on a law that legislators thought they had handled four years ago. With his signature, it is now illegal to send or read a text message while you are driving. Period, no question about it.

Bill Allows Use of Naturally Occurring Asbestos

Governor Parnell last week signed a bill setting standards that allow naturally occurring asbestos to be extracted and used in construction projects around the state. It also protects owners of contaminated gravel, construction companies, landowners, workers and communities from any legal responsibility if health hazards develop.

Judicial Council Holding Hearing On Judge Retention

The public will get a special opportunity to talk about judges next week as the Alaska Judicial Council will hold a statewide hearing to get opinions on the 26 judges up for retention votes this fall.

House Pondering Next Step After Senate Adjourns

Members of the State House Republican led caucus are deciding their next step after the Senate abruptly adjourned from the special session Thursday.

Senate Adjourns Special Session

The Senate has adjourned the special legislative session the governor called last week. That follows the governor’s unprecedented action Wednesday night of removing any consideration of his bill lowering taxes on oil.

In-State Gas Line Remains On Legislators’ Radar

The only item remaining on the Governor’s proclamation for a special session is a bill that would take huge steps toward the construction of an in-state natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Southcentral Alaska. It was sponsored by House Speaker Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski).