AM Alaska News Roundup for Feb. 12

  • It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a state sponsored drone. The Juneau Empire reports that major technology companies are racing to get contracts with UAF’s Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration because it is one of only six drone flight testing centers in the country and companies have to prove their drones are safe in order to be granted exemptions by the FAA.
  • The Dispatch reveals that the Anchorage Salary and Emoluments Commission is in the process to raise the Anchorage mayor’s salary from about $129,064 to $139,180 at the end of Mayor Dan Sullivan’s term. Public testimony on this is tonight in room 240 at City Hall between 5:00-6:00pm.
  • The Soldotna City Council voted against granting the Central Peninsula Health Foundation $350,000 (50% of what the foundation needed) so it could purchase a golf course, according to the Peninsula Clarion.
  • Gavel Alaska shows once more that the Alaska Senate’s glockenspiel moves put others (including the Metropolitan Opera) to shame.
  • In a move not experienced since the days of former Gov. Sarah Palin, Gov. Bill Walker spoke before a committee yesterday before leaving to prepare for his official presser about his plans to drop the Point Thompson lawsuit. APRN has the story and Matt Buxton with the Fairbanks News Miner live tweeted the entire drama as it unfolded, complete with pictures (!).
  • The House Majority held an press conference of their own and put out a press release.

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  • Alaska Legislative Finance has launched their own Twitter account.

  • Sen. Dan Sullivan’s grilling of EPA’s Clean Air Chief Janet McCabe caught APRN’s attention. It’s also available on his YouTube channel.
  • President and CEO of Alaska Aerospace Craig Campbell explained to the Senate Finance Committee why privatizing the corporation might be a good idea and Becky Bohrer with the AP explains why it wouldn’t be.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan have joined forces to fight Pres. Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act and unilaterally designating water and land as national monuments without Congressional approval, per SitNews.
  • Alaska House Minority Leader Chris Tuck lead the charge of calling foul on a procedural change by House Leadership that removed an important bipartisan cooperation tool from the legislature’s parliamentary toolbox. Nathaniel Herz with the Dispatch has the details.
  • The Washington Post covered the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure where there was bipartisan agreement on the need for a solution to the country’s transportation crisis, but only Rep. Don Young was quoted as asking about how to fund the proposed infrastructure projects.
  • APRN has a piece on Chief Justice Dana Fabe’s State of the Judiciary address yesterday where she stressed the need for more judicial presence in rural Alaska.
  • The Hill reports that Sen. Lisa Murkowski met with Secretary of State John Kerry and Admiral Robert Papp to discuss diplomacy with Arctic nations.
  • The governor’s Interior Energy Project bill has been assigned to four different House committees, according to the Fairbanks News Miner. The bill’s aim is to bring Cook Inlet gas to Fairbanks in a bid to help lower heating costs.
  • The Seward City News outlines the community’s worries about how the state’s budget cuts will hurt the town’s economy.
  • The Keystone XL pipeline bill passed the House yesterday and is currently making its way to the President’s desk where it will be quickly vetoed and round two of bipartisan political grandstanding will commence.
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