Alaska News Roundup for Feb. 26

  • Cue the Rocky theme song. CPAC is happening right now and the 2016 GOP presidential contenders are preparing for what is largely considered to be the party’s “silent primary”. Politico has 8 things to watch for. To get the public equally excited, CPAC asked Twitter for questions using the hashtag #CPACQ.  The results will fill your daily snark quota.

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  • Oil Price has an article dedicated to Alaska’s proposal for a state-owned LNG pipeline.
  • The FBI now believes that ISIS suspects can now be found in all 50 states with it being an unknown quantity in Alaska just a few weeks ago, according to The Hill.
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan was a guest on Greta Van Susteren’s show where he eloquently discussed ISIS. Unfortunately, he also tweeted this photo with Van Susteren looking non too pleased and in a defensive posture to boot.

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  • The FCC’s vote on Net Neutrality is happening TODAY. The Hill and Politico have their own take on what the results and repercussions will be.   No matter, the Senate Commerce Committee already has March 18 circled on their calendar to “grill all five Federal Communications Commission members.”

  • The Alaska Journal of Commerce reports that state geologist believe Cook Inlet has more natural gas than was previously estimated.
  • In a move that raised some eyebrows (including the Dispatch), Rep. Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole), specifically targeted three individual positions within the Department of Labor for budget cutting. Those on the chopping block: former Democratic State Senator Joe Thomas, former Communications Director Zach Fields and former staffer for Rep. Kurt Olson (R-Soldotna). Questions of impropriety and political motivations are wafting through the halls of Juneau.
  • Anchorage mayoral candidate Andrew Halcro has campaign signs sprouting up all over Anchorage.

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  • APRN’s Zachariah Hughes interviewed the head of NORAD and NORTHCOM Admiral Bill Gortney. Admiral Gortney’s wants to reflect Alaska’s growing strategic military importance with a proper defense presence.
  • Sitka has finalized their pot rules and Ketchikan has made it legal to partake within the limits of state laws. Over in Juneau, the Senate Judiciary Committee is moving forward with preliminary regulations for the state’s new commercial marijuana industry, including state residency for sellers.
  • The hits keep coming for Aaron “Downton Abbey” Schock (R-IL) with RollCall announcing that he is now being investigated for potentially violating House rules for using noncommercial aircraft and federal law (i.e. taking flights on his political donors’ private planes). These are the very same ethics rules that were publically denounced last fall by Rep. Don Young as being, “one of the dumber rules” and he had proposed changes of his own.
  • The Pew Charitable Trust discovered that New Mexico’s Nurse Hotline is not only saving lives, but also saving the state more than $68 million since its inception in 2006. Paging HSS committee members, this is worth a read.
  • Yesterday Rep. Ben Nageak (D-Barrow) had a medical emergency while on the House Floor. The only journalist, with the Juneau Empire, on the floor reported reports on what happened, but there are no recordings or pictures of the event due floor decorum rules as tweeted by Matt Buxton with the Fairbanks News Miner:

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  • The drama didn’t end there. Rep. Craig Johnson (R-Anchorage) reportedly    revoked and then later returned press privileges of two journalists for taking a picture outside the capital building of Rep. Nageak being loaded into the ambulance.
  • Commonwealth North has their own ideas on cost saving measures in a report they released Wednesday. The Dispatch has a great article explaining their points, including that they believe that the state should reopen their contracts with state labor unions to lower healthcare costs and extend the time between wage increases.
  • Tobacco is in the state legislature’s crosshairs.  Rep. Bob Herron (D-Bethel) and Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) have companion bills that would make it illegal to smoke in public places, i.e. restaurants and bars, statewide, per the Juneau Empire.

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  • A potential extra reason for the finance committees to maintain funding for our public libraries because the Washington Post reports that the Alaska State Libraries, Archives and Museums was one of a handful of venues chosen nationwide to host Shakespeare’s First Folio in 2016!
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