Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Statewide News Network.

Staffers Make Last Minute Preparations For Legislative Session

Even though the legislative session doesn’t start until tomorrow, lots of behind the scenes work is underway at the state capitol. APRN’s Annie Feidt wandered the halls today looking for activity and has this story.

Federal Officials Announce ‘Navigator’ Grants To Help Alaskans Buy Health Insurance

On October first, the federal government is scheduled to have its health insurance marketplace up and running in Alaska under the Affordable Care Act. If you're not sure exactly what a health care marketplace is, you're not alone. So, on Thursday, the Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Susan Johnson, announced grants to two organizations to help Alaskans figure out how to use the new marketplace. Download Audio

State Senate Rejects Pay Raises For Governor, Commissioners

The compensation bill was approved unanimously and now needs a vote from the House. Listen Now

State Representatives Condemn EPA Chief’s Statements

The Alaska State House unanimously condemned language used by Gina McCarthy to describe gifts she received in the state. Download Audio

With Education Vote Postponed, Parent Group Rallies For More School Funding

The Alaska State House has delayed its vote on an omnibus education bill to Monday, giving lawmakers more time to wrestle with questions over teacher retirement policy and treatment of rural schools. But even though debate on the bill was delayed, that did not stop a crowd of parents from gathering on the Capitol steps to rally for more education funding. Download Audio

Southcentral Foundation Reaches Historic Settlement With IHS

Anchorage based Southcentral Foundation announced a settlement with the Indian Health Service over contract payments that at $96 million represents the largest IHS settlement in history. Download Audio

City of Bethel Investigation Reveals Improper Contracts and Perks

The Bethel City Council has released a redacted version of its investigation into city contracts, nepotism, and personnel issues. The investigation led to the firing of Bethel’s city manager in May and reveals improperly awarded contracts, special agreements, and violations of the city’s previous nepotism rule. It chronicles mismanagement by former city manager, Lee Foley. Download Audio

In Wake Of “Education Session,” Democrats Run Teacher Candidates

In the aftermath of what Gov. Sean Parnell dubbed the "education session," half a dozen of the new candidates being fielded by the Democratic Party are educators. The most high profile of these is Bob Williams, who was once named the Alaska Teacher of the Year and is now a candidate for lieutenant governor.

Calls For Hearings Into National Guard Misconduct Continue

Another state legislator is demanding hearings into misconduct in the Alaska National Guard.

Walker Releases Parnell Budget As Placeholder

Walker described Parnell’s proposal as a “starting point” to meet a budget deadline that comes two weeks after inauguration. Download Audio

To Fund Lobbying Effort, Sex Worker Advocates Turns To Internet

Smart watches, movies, even potato salad -- all these things have found success with crowdfunding. Now Terra Burns wants to see if Internet users will pay for her to travel to Juneau and advocate on behalf of sex workers.

Murkowski Fends Off Thorny Add-Ons to Energy Bill

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s big energy policy bill, if it passes, would be the first since 2007. Several national energy bills have washed up on the rocks since then. Murkowski’s strategy is to keep controversies out of the package, and it was tested at a Senate Energy Committee meeting this morning. Download Audio

Amid plunging gas prices, how competitive is Alaska LNG?

This month, the state committed to another year of work on the Alaska LNG project, the effort to bring natural gas from the North Slope to the Kenai Peninsula for export. But with natural gas prices plunging alongside oil, APRN's Rachel Waldholz asks: should Alaska be worried? Download Audio

Senate president aims to finish session in Juneau

The Legislature didn’t take any actions Monday as it began the second week after the scheduled end of the session. But Senate President Kevin Meyer said he’d like to see the Legislature complete its work soon. Download Audio

Rep. Young bucks tide, supports Obama on veto

Congress, for the first time, overrode one of President Obama’s vetoes. The bill – which now becomes law - allows 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia based on allegations it provided support to the terrorist attackers. The veto override was bipartisan, but Rep. Don Young sided with Obama on this one. Listen Now

Schlepping bronze, a Ketchikan artist retraces Seward’s route

A Ketchikan artist went on a mission in Washington, D.C.: to find the spot where William Seward signed the treaty to buy Alaska from Russia. He was searching for a thread of history and he didn't come empty-handed. Listen now

After signing wastewater bill, Governor Walker celebrates salmon

Governor Bill Walker put pen to paper last Thursday afternoon, signing a bill at a shipyard in Sitka. The measure means big savings for small ships — especially those that ferry passengers around Southeast. On Alaska Wild Salmon Day, he also received a gift from local fishermen.

Democrats fail to stop refuge drilling plan

The U.S. Senate Energy Committee voted to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. "We're not going to stop fighting," a dismayed Gwich'in leader said. "We can't. This is our way of life. This is everything that we know." Listen now

Bill would exempt utility companies from pesticide pollution

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists discovered “concerning levels” of the pesticide Penta in soils around power poles running through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Listen now

Divided House majority coalition stuck on state budget

Since the majority couldn’t agree on the dividend, it can’t agree on the overall size of the budget. The added dividend money would cost $892 million. Listen now