Wired has some great background on a new bill before Congress that INCREASES (pretty non-existent) Americans’ rights to digital privacy. The bill would require state and local law enforcement to obtain a warrant BEFORE they can use stingray surveillance devices. Wonder where our Congressional Delegation will side on this issue?
Ninilchik Tribal Council is going full-throttle on taking care of its community by beginning the steps toward an area-wide peninsula public-transit system complete with a transit hub to ensure access for all to medical and public amenities. The Peninsula Clarion reports that the estimated annual operating budget of $200,000 and an initial start-up cost of $1.2 million that would go toward the purchase of buses, drivers, insurance, etc.
Learn all about the Mat-Su Borough’s new Mayor Vern Halter in a LIVE radio interview with APRN today from 2:00-3:00pm. Call 1-888-353-5752.
One of my little birds shared this photo from a Politico photo essay of “When Halloween and Washington Mixed”. There was some slight confusion of why Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s nephews were so…”bulky” and thought it might be due to the “caribou diet”. Nah, her security guards were geared up for Halloween Alaska style: complete with snow gear UNDER the costume.
The State Pot Board might be on track to satisfy all the policy requirements of the 2014 ballot initiative cum law but the Juneau Empire reports that one rather important aspect is still unsolved: where can visitors/tourists legally consume the now legal cannabis?
TransCanada is probably doing a happy dance about the AK Senate’s vote to buyout the company’s stake in the LNG pipeline from the Peninsula Clarion’s take on the event.
Fairbanks Mayor Karl Kassel gave an administration defining speech to borough employees last Tuesday where he stressed substance over flattery. The end goal according to the Fairbanks News Miner? “I want to end the Super Bowl of local governments.” Then maybe a trip to Disneyland?
Health insurance rates will continue to go up for 2016 as to will subsidies, but the Dispatch explains what the state is doing to help those found in the unenviable situation of earning too much to receive subsidies and have to purchase their healthcare through the Marketplace Exchange.
The AP has a pretty expansive list of how states evaluate their teachers using testing results. Alaska is part of a large contingency that uses test scores as a key factor in teacher evaluations.
Rep. Charisse Millettshared this great picture of the female House Majority members (though where is Rep. Louise Stutes in this female empowerment photo?).
Take heart Democratic Party because Politico charts a path to winning back the House…if Donald Trump or Dr. Ben Carson wins the prime spot on the ticket.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly was all like a Human Beinz song at their last public meeting where they decided to take a stand against homeowners buying or selling from being forced to connect to the South Tongass Service Area’s public water system and approved all of Mayor David Landis’ Assembly appointments without a fight.
Anti-Pebble groups are petitioningAKDNR to investigate Pebble Mine backers to ensure they have the met current reclamation requirements with deadlines so the state isn’t left paying for any cleanup that isn’t done after mining is complete, per the Dispatch.
The City of Juneau is but a few short, sweet months away from handing out 12 individual $6,000 grants to homeowners to build an accessory or MIL apartment to help boost Juneau’s housing market. For those interested, the Juneau Empire has the requirements for the grant money and why this is a widely considered a good use of limited fiscal resources.
Sen. Lisa Murkowskitweeted this fascinating Waterworldesque picture of Alaskan waterways regarding the controversial EPA water rule under debate this week on THE hill.
The House Oversight Committee gave REALLY bad marks to federal agencies on their compliance with properly managing and securing their IT systems. The Department of Energy, Education, and NASA all received “F.” The State Department got a “D”and Homeland Security got a “C.” The best marks of a “B” went to the Department of Corrections and General Services Administration, per The Hill.
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.”
Holy Bill of Rights Batman! Sen. Charlie Huggins (R-Wasilla) suggested during a Senate State Affairs Committee hearing that the state should start to collect DNA samples from middle schoolers so that it could then be compared to later crime scene samples. Nate Herz with the Dispatch has all the Minority Reportesque details.
The Kenai City Council unanimously passed a resolution yesterday in support of Robert Ruffner as a new member of the Board of Fish. This piece of news should put a spring in his step as he heads to his confirmation hearing with the House Resource Committee today.
Mat-Su coal mining is no longer a sure thing since a coalition of environmental groups have banded together in filing a lawsuit against a Usibelli Coal Mine permit with the federal courts. The Frontiersman explains that this filing occurred after it discovered that existing community members would be left out of voicing mining operations (future problems/issues) once Usibelli began operations.
Image credit of Usibelli.com
Municipalities can now begin breathing a sigh of relief as regulations involving what muni’s role in regulating marijuana passed the House and is now headed to the Senate. Matt Buxton with the Fairbanks News Miner explains what specific clarifications HB75 currently entails.
Alaskans now have buddies to listen to The Smiths with to help dull the pain of financial realities stemming from the falling North Sea oil prices. The Dispatch reports that Great Britain’s (particularly Scotland) will be feeling monetary heartache as well.
In coffee spitting news, the Peninsula Clarion reports that the Senate Finance Committee has advanced the operating budget, but it does not include forward funding for public education. The slashing and burning doesn’t end there. The Fairbanks News Miner informs of education funding cuts that have left many speechless.
The Dispatch’s Devin Kelly has the skinny on how the Anchorage mayoral candidates will be utilizing their time during the Weekend of Decision.
The Not-Rep. Geran Tarr’s Version of Erin’s Law received its first hearing in the Senate Education committee hearing, per the Juneau Empire.
Paging Yereth Rosen: Slate is wondering if Alaska is the next place where exploding permafrost will become the norm.
Taking a page from the scorched earth policy book, Rep. Lora Reinbold (R-Eagle River) has proposed a constitutional amendment, HJR21, on term limits for state legislators that would prevent a state representative (elected every two years) from serving more than four full or partial successive terms or a state senator (elected every four years) from serving no more than two full or partial successive terms.
Alaska has joined 14 other states in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage bans, per APRN.
The Juneau Empire explains the changes occurring to charitable gaming.
Oil rigs off the coast of the U.S. dropped in number by 11 to a new lowest oil rig count of 802 since 2011, per Business Insider.
It’s Party Time over at Shell Oil this morning with the news that they were given the green light for offshore drilling around the North Slope of Alaska, according to the New York Times.
Today’s the last day to file for your 2015 PFD! In the spirit of this momentous day, the Dispatch explains how the Permanent Fund Corp. is starting to look overseas for investment opportunities to keep our dividend check well rounded.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan have introduced legislation to grant Alaskan Native tribes in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Haines, and Tenakee land and thus form village corporations-something that KRBD reports was intentionally prevented during the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
In an update that is sure to make Salmon Beyond Borders reach for their smelling salts, the Juneau Empire explains the newest British Columbia gold mine that will be located upstream of Southeast Alaska.
The Frontiersman reports that the highly unpopular monofil, which has already been twice defeated, has found its way onto the Mat-Su Borough Assembly’s calendar as the only item for discussion at today’s 10:00am meeting in the borough assembly chambers.
GitHub (one of the U.S.’s leading coding sites) has been successfully fending off Brute Force attacks since last Thursday. The Hill explains why indicators point to China and why.
In a reminder of good in the world, 10-year-old William Scannell’sPost Cards of Hope international project was featured on KTUU.
NOAA announced yesterday that Cook Inlet beluga whales have increased from 312 in 2012 to 340 in 2014. The Peninsula Clarion explains what this means for Alaska and the ecological health of our waters.
APRN reports that SB30, the marijuana regulation bill, has passed with concentrates still attached despite a fiery speech by Sen. Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks) in opposition to the concentrates section. Matt Buxton with the Fairbanks News Miner captured the vote:
The AP reports that the attorneys for the proposed Pebble Mine are requesting a subpoena for Alaska Communications’ email conversations of a former EPA employee and an anti-Pebble attorney to preserve the data from routine server maintenance (coincidentally making such data vulnerable for hackers) and file-clearing procedures.
Rep. Don Young has the latest distinction of being the first have “terms of a spousal honor tucked into a bill name” with SAFETEA-LU. The “LU” in the title is for Lu Young, his late wife, per the Washington Post.
The President of the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees, Jeff Cook, wrote an impassioned op-ed in today’s Fairbanks News Miner in support of Medicaid expansion. Something that Gov. Bill Walker officially tweeted.
It is still unclear if the packed Senate Finance committee by Juneau residents to testify in defense of funding for education, public broadcasting and social programs will sway legislators, but the Juneau Empire’s account of the hearing would require a heart of stone to remain unmoved.
The U.S. is at a tipping point, or as Politico puts it, a hinge moment of major change in the electorate makeup with graphs and charts to elaborate what the breakdown is forecast to look like.
While Rep. Lora Reinbold (R-Eagle River) might be a caucus of one, it doesn’t prevent her from enjoying the company of fellow legislators.
Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Just ask Lynn “Goddess” Gattis (R-Wasilla) or Rep. Jonathan “Jesus Christ-Tomkins” Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka) in a hilarious send-up to tongue twisting names of our elected officials by Nate Herz with the Dispatch.
Politico has today’s birthday roundup. Who knew Piers Morgan and former Mark Begich could rock party hats together?
Elections are around the corner and a political newbie seems to be in it to win it. Derrick Slaughter’s army of supporters were wailing on the phones last night to garner support for his Anchorage School Board bid as evidence in this photo.
While Sen. Dan Sullivan is painted a coward by Bill Press in The Hill for signing the infamous Iran letter, Press simultaneously feels that Sen. Lisa Murkowski should be awarded one of seven for Congress’ Profiles of Courage awards.
CNNI/ORC conducted a poll of 1,009 adult Americans and found that 68% of those polled were in favor of diplomatic talks with Tehran.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly weighs in on finding a balance between keeping their seasonal food exemption and the importance the estimated $3.3 million in additional funds the exemption repeal would create for their coffers, per the Peninsula Clarion.
The drama bomb that was felt across the state was the dramatic removal of Rep. Lora Reinbold (R-Eagle River) of her committees, staff, and membership to the House Majority Caucus. Becky Bohrer with the AP has the details, Alaska Pipeline has the dramatic moment on the house floor and the timeline was captured by reporters via their Twitter feeds: