Monthly Archives: April 2015

Alaska News Roundup April 30

  • Put down the coffee. Step away from anything pointy or sharp because the Kodiak Daily Mirror reports that the U.S. Navy is planning to use naval shells, sonar, and LIVE BOMBS as part of their military training actives near Kodiak Island. Naturally the Sun’aq Tribe is alarmed. HERE is a link to federal and state representative contact details. map

 

  • Matt Buxton with the Fairbanks News Miner has the details on Gov. Bill Walker’s logical reasons for keeping the legislature in Juneau until the budget is passed.
  • Don’t sweat if you missed KSKM and KSKA’s Anchorage Mayoral Run-off debate, Running, Wednesday night. Here is the debate in all its glory. Check out the Political Calendar for upcoming debate information.Running

 

  • Alaska’s oil wonks should read Politico’s background story of Saudi Arabia’s new King Mohammed bin Salman and why he is throwing the U.S. government for a loop as our diplomats are signaling the inability to comfortably predict a continual favorable relationship with the oil rich country.

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Alaska News Roundup for April 29

  • Legislators want to go home. They want to go home and continue to work on remaining legislative issues from their LIO home offices (i.e. most likely Anchorage). The Dispatch explains why an extended Special Session just might be held at the Taj MacHawker.
  • The Dispatch’s Dermot Cole explains where things are legislatively and what issues are coming to the forefront during Special Session with a rundown of the budget Winners & Losers.
  • The Central Peninsula League of Women Voters are working it! The Peninsula Clarion was on hand while they got high school students registered to vote at River City Academy. The organization will be making the rounds to area high schools to bolster voter registration rates for the upcoming election cycle.
  • The Washington Post reports on the growing problem legal marijuana businesses are having in trying to deposit their money into a bank-Alaska, included.Map

 

  • The Fairbanks News Miner has the lowdown on the Supreme Court arguments over same-sex marriage with Anthony Kennedy remaining as the mystery vote on the issue.
  • The message of love from the step of the Supreme Court was brought westward to Juneau as marriage equality advocates called on Gov. Bill Walker and AG Craig Richards to withdraw the state from the federal case involving bans on gay marriage. KTOO has the details and pictures.
  • Former Sen. Mark Begich’s wife, Deborah Bonito, was spotted by The Hill attending a luncheon hosted by folksinger Judy Collins and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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Alaska News Roundup for April 28

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  • Sparks flew yesterday at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s lunchtime debate between Anchorage mayoral candidates Ethan Berkowitz and Amy Dembowski. The Dispatch’s Devin Kelly captured the fireworks, the shade throwing and the grandstanding.
  • APRN explains BOEM’s coffee spitting worthy 75% likelihood of one or more large Arctic oil spills in their Chukchi Sea impact report. Turns out it is not quite as dire as initially thought, but oil spill possibilities are never greeted with confetti and smiles.

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Alaska News Roundup for April 27

  • The Washington Post has compiled a list of the toughest animals on the planet and Alaska’s Wood Frog came in at #2. My spidey sense is telling me that the Wood Frog just might find itself as the newest State Symbol. Teachers; civic classes and the Wood Frog need you!

    Wood Frog

    State Seal Worthy

  • Now that the state legislature is entering its second week of Extended Session (don’t even think of calling it a Special Session!), the Fairbanks News Miner explains what is left on their to-do list. Medicaid Expansion, Erin’s Law, and IEP are simple issues…right?
  • APRN has the details on the passage of the state budget yesterday.
  • Some Congressional GOP members want more anti-missile battery on U.S. soil. Politico explains the push for a third (the current Ground-based Midcourse Defense Systems are already in place in Alaska and California) would be for the East Coast. Objections stem from two main points: lack of funding for another location and (more importantly) Alaska and California’s warheads have several years of bad test results and improving those are more important to national security.
  • APRN reports on the newest batch of Alaska National Guard records that was just released by the Walker Administration. Friday’s document drop totaled 4142 pages almost a year after APRN and the Dispatch first requested them from the Parnell Administration. What these documents entail will be explained in the coming weeks.

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Alaska News Roundup for April 24

  • My little birds in Juneau tell me that frustration and anger are the two emotions wafting through the capital hallways. The Fairbanks News Miner Matt Buxton and APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez tweeted pretty accurate summations:Buxton ParaphraseGueiterrez
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  • Alaskans should rejoice over the news coming from ISER! The Dispatch explains that the state can use up to $2.3 billion (yes, with a “B”) of the Permanent Fund earnings toward the deficit without hurting Alaskans’ PFD!

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Alaska News Roundup for April 23

  • The Alaska Senate Minority sent out a press release that explains we are now PAYING the oil companies $640 million more than what the state gets in production taxes. What?
  • The Juneau Empire has another awesome scorecard (!) of where important pieces of legislation are in the process now that the legislature is in Limbo Session.infographic

 

  • ConocoPhillips lowers the anxiety level of many by describing why they are planning to expand their O&G exploration in Alaska with the added bonus that production levels are expected to remain flat through 2017, per the Dispatch.
  • The Juneau Empire has Gov. Bill Walker’s homework list for legislators while they are waiting which includes IEP, child support and Erin’s Law.
  • Pat Forgey with the Dispatch brings up the thorny issue of session per diem ($233 per day) that legislators receive while in session while Rep. Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks) told the Political Pipeline something that for those anticipating budget cut pink slips like rubbing salt into wounds.Wool

 

  • 80’s cultural icon Cyndi Lauper urged the U.S. Senate to pass Human Trafficking legislation, per The Hill. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan broke ranks with their party and voted not just for its eventual passage, but also for the Leahy amendment!

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Alaska News Roundup for April 22

  • JUST IN:  Valdez City Council just fired their City Manager, John Hozey after ten years in a four to three vote that became effective at close of business yesterday.
  • In not my job news, the Senate Majority basically pleaded with the media to sell their proposed budget cuts to the public.  The Dispatch’s Nathaniel Herz explains their points and includes Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Anchorage) complaining of receiving at least 100 emails nightly asking for more money. If twitter is anything to go by, their appeal just created more anger amongst their voters.
  • The Senate Majority has the most important 2:35 minutes from yesterday’s presser…from their standpoint. Sen. Presser

 

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s push to remove the crude oil export ban has now included Iran as one of the reasons, per CNBC. Interestingly enough, Seeking Alpha reports that Pioneer Natural Recources’ CEO now gives the odds of lifting the export ban to 50/50 odds of it happening before the end of the year.

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Alaska News Roundup for April 21

  • Katie Moritz with the Juneau Empire eloquently explains the many ways in which Alaska can resolve its fiscal issues and also why Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) is quickly becoming the most powerful legislator in Juneau.
  • Politico explains how the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has gone from being a scary regulatory entity with teeth to a paper tiger within the ten years since its inception despite the growing number of pipeline related incidents.Pipeline

 

  • Nathaniel Herz with the Dispatch gives an overview of the Legislature’s first day of special session. The gist of the day was mostly ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
  • IEP is close to becoming law. The Fairbanks News Miner reports on where it currently stands and what hurdles it will have to jump to win the prize of landing on Gov. Bill Walker’s desk.
  • Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, showed he has a pair of large brass ones that would rival Vladimir Putin when he not only landed on Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, but also proceeded to tweet pictures of himself and his entourage. The Washington Post proceeds to describe this as a “diplomatic incident” between Norway and Russia.   Are there more chilling words than from this tweet for northern latitude nations?Brass Ones

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Alaska News Roundup for April 20

  • The Dispatch’s Nathaniel Herz teamed up with Marc Lester to create an amazing time capsule of yesterday’s grueling Legislationorama. My little birds tell me that the general mood of the legislature this morning is the following:Leg's Feelings

 

  • Congratulations to Rep. Chris Tuck and Bernadette Wilson with the birth of their baby girl over the weekend! My little birds tell me that baby and mom are doing well and once they were settled, dad flew back to Juneau to help ensure Alaska would give his baby girl the future she deserved.
  • During yesterday’s Legislationorama, all 89 of Gov. Bill Walker’s political appointees were voted on, but only 84 were approved. The Fairbanks News Miner explains that amongst the five that did not was former State Sen. Joe Paskvan (D-Fairbanks) and possible reasons behind the “Ney” votes.

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Alaska News Roundup for April 17

  • First there was Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) tweet alluding to a special session, now the Peninsula Clarion is reporting that Gov. Bill Walker is adding to the buzz of this possibility due to inaction on Medicaid expansion.
  • The Anchorage Mayoral runoff might still be going strong, but that hasn’t stopped my little birds from telling me about brewing interest in the soon-to-be open District 3 Assembly Seat with the departure of termed-out Ernie Hall. It turns out that School Board member Eric Croft and political mover/shaker Nic Moe have both been mentioned as possible replacements. Nic Moe ran a strong write-in campaign against Hall in 2013 and brought in 48.08% of the votes. Eric Croft has been in the political jungle for decades and knows where the money can be found. This will be an interesting development.
  • Ivan Moore has conducted a Medicaid expansion poll that showed that even in the most conservative areas of the state, people favor doing this 2-1! The Dispatch explains the poll well, but does not include details like the total number polled, percentage of error, method of contact or even a link to the poll itself. Ivanmooreresearch.com is currently under construction.Under Construction

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Alaska News Roundup for April 16

  • Happy Birthday Gov. Bill Walker!
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  • Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan want to spend $200K to spend on sending nine homeless inebriants to Seattle WA’s addiction treatment facility. The KTUU explains that Akeela Inc., feels that the money would be better spent instate.
  • Paging legislators! Jaunted (and a good chunk of South East, per the Cordova Times) would like you to read the Five Reasons the Alaska Highway is Better than a Cruise. Number 1 describes Alaska in a nutshell.
  • Kensington Gold Mine just got a breath of life with the discovery of a gold rich deposit that will extend mining at the site for an additional two years, per the Juneau Empire.
  • In a move that has several people scratching their heads in confusion, the Dispatch explains that Anchorage mayoral candidate Amy Dembowski has chosen to skip many scheduled debates and informational forums leading up to the May 5 runoff election date. Her opponent, Ethan Berkowitz will continue to attend his confirmed events.
  • Gov. Bill Walker appears to be tapping his inner Theodore Roosevelt with the surprised required (the APRN used the gutsy word command) joint session of the legislature Friday to vote/pass Gov. Walker’s political appointees and THEN an ice cream social!
    Emoji session

    ice cream social

    Photo Credit of APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez’s Twitter Feed

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Alaska News Roundup for April 15

  • Love is in the air as California is finally gettin’ some, some of Alaska’s water that is. Yereth Rosen with the Dispatch explains that Sitka will be the source of bulk water being sold to the parched Golden State. Word is the water pipeline ala former Wally Hickel’s futuristic vision is still unrealistic, but as this resource grows in value…who knows.

 

  • APRN reports that the updated uniform code of military justice for the Alaska National Guard will have to wait until next session to see its passage. Until then, it will be tweaked during the Interim into a better bill.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wrote an op-ed in Foreign Policy Magazine to explain their case as to why the U.S. should lift its 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports.
  • Medicaid expansion s the word of the week down in Juneau. Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott are hosting the first of several rallies today in support of health care expansion.   The Peninsula Clarion explains what medical administrators foresee if it is enacted.Medicaid

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Alaska News Roundup for April 14

  • Having your name associated with Cosmo hasn’t been the same since former Sen. Scott Brown, but could soon be changing with this great article that celebrates the unsung achievements of women in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was highlighted as an example of a figurative bridge building legislator.
  • Becky Bohrer with the AP sat down with Gov. Bill Walker to discuss Medicaid. In short, Gov. Walker is sticking to his guns with no Medicaid reform without expansion. He doesn’t have that much of a hard sell to Alaskans with his ever-growing list of backers as proof of statewide support.
  • In a move taken straight from the Loretta Lynch nomination hold-up playbook, the Alaska GOP state legislative leaders are prepared to withhold confirmation hearings on Gov. Bill Walker’s political appointees because of Medicaid Expansion.
  • Rep. Lora Reinbold’s (R-Eagle River) recent email regarding Medicaid expansion call-in testimony details has raised the hackles of NAACP’s vice president Kevin McGee by including ““We are trying not to get the number out to the pro expansion for they are much more organized,” in the missive. APRN has the brewing scandal for the caucus-less representative.
  • The Hill was on hand to capture Rep. Don Young tapping his inner Shakespearean dramatic flair while urging colleagues to approve a resolution to back the stationing of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in Alaska by saying, “He who holds Alaska holds the world.”

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Lunch Break: EHarmony for Political Leanings and Cities

Business Insider asks if you’re living in the right city that best reflects your political leanings.

Turns out Alaska that if you are conservative, you’d probably find hanging your hat in Salcha the best fit.  On the other hand, liberals will find Kasigluk and not Juneau (surprise!) as THE place to put down roots. Liberal Conservative Cities in States

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Alaska News Roundup for April 13

  • Fasten your seat belts political wonks because the last week of the legislative session is going to be a bumpy ride! The Fairbanks News Miner foresees a collective focus on two tricky issues: the budget and Medicaid expansion to avoid a dreaded Special Session.
  • The Dispatch’s Alex DeMarban made a jaw-dropping announcement that the Last Frontier’s oil-tax income will be low, really low. Low as in state oil revenue will be similar to what the state received in the 1970’s- low. Ouchie.
  • Take heart Alaska! Alaska Pipeline explains (with lots of graphs!) that while oil tax revenues are depressingly low, the Permanent Fund’s net income is on track to become the state’s new moneymaker!PFD Makin Money

 

  • The Juneau Empire reports how the Senate Finance committee put $94 million into the Capital Budget and why.

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