Infrastructure funding and water regulation over minor waterways under the Clean Water Act will be the main points of contention focus this week in Congress.
While Sen. Lisa Murkowskimade the time to congratulate Soldotna’s own Anna DeVolld on her winning essay about the US Capital Tree and right to light the tree all the way in Washington, D.C., the same could not be said about Little Anna’s own Sen. Peter Micchiche or Rep. Kurt Olson.
Saxman is getting their wish in will once again be designated as rural and be regranted the ability to hunt with subsistence allowances by the of the Interior AND Kenai, Wasilla/Palmer, Homer and Ketchikan’s areas will be returning to their pre-2007 nonrural boundaries!
While the House is off till next week, the ongoing saga over Who. Will. Be. The. Next. Speaker. Of. The. House. contines with Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) spokesperson playing coy and saying that there isn’t any anticipated news this week and to “Enjoy you Columbus Day”.
Take heart Interior Democrats! While the owners of your beloved Drinking Liberally hang-out have changed, Big Daddy’s will continue serving their delicious BBQ and libations with ease. From the Fairbanks News Miner’s take, it is simply a matter of new name on the door.
The ire over Sen. Lesil McGuire’s (R-Anchorage) $6,500 Seattle Conference hotel bills is growing to such an extent that the former Lt. Governor candidate has revoked her staff’s ability to sign the senator’s name in future and have been verbally flogged via the Dispatch. Her staffers have personally repaid the state for their $450-a-night hotel stay. This issue is sure to come up on an increasing basis during her highly contentious 2016 primary battle.
Still a catchy tune
The Mexican Consulate, currently located in downtown Anchorage, might be leaving the state completely-but not without a fight from a quickly formed group that is urgently advocating to keep their doors open past November 1st. KTVA reports that so far 900 people have been signed to their petition and that the consulate’s closure will affect the 4,000+ Mexicans residing in Alaska.
Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River) shared the news that the Senate Majority was pleased with the message Gov. Bill Walker had about the PFD and the current fiscal situation the state faces.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly meets tonight to discuss the proposed commercial cannabis zoning ordinances and regulations. There will also be an opportunity for public testimony and fingers-crossed…a vote! The Fairbanks News Miner has the skinny on what Assemblymen Lance “Straight Shooter” Roberts, John Davies, Van Lawrence, and the ever-eloquent Assemblywoman Diane Hutchison are looking for in the ordinances. It promises to be an interesting hearing.
Today is THE DAY for oral arguments between the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the state over the constitutionality of municipalities being forced to pay toward their local public schools’ costs.
Hilcorp wants to lay pipe. Ok, more like they have asked DNR for permits to drill exploratory wells near Ninilchik, but my interpretation of the Fairbanks News Miner story is way funnier.
In good news/bad news: The good news is that the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the state’s justice system last Tuesday (yay!). The bad news is that the Pew Charitable Trust’s presentation during the hearing pointed to incarceration lengths as the reason for the state’s prison population explosion and not due to an increase in individual inmates, per APRN.
Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski), Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River), Rep. Mark Neuman (R-Big Lake), and Rep. Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks) think there are simply too many Alaskans in prison and have started proposing changes to the state justice system in order to see at least a 25% decrease in incarcerations.
Here they come to save the day! The State of Alaska has agreed to wire part of Cook Inlet Energy LLC’s tax credit payment to the tune of $6.4 million early so the energy producer doesn’t go into bankruptcy, per the Peninsula Clarion.
FINALLY!! The state ferry system has something to celebrate (happy dance time). APRN reports that the LeConte ferry not only saved six men after their skiff overturned in the choppy waters off Rocky Island, but this bit of derring-do didn’t even alter the ferry’s expected arrival time too much.
Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) wants the governor to investigate the curious situation where when “oil prices go up the price for gas also goes up but when oil prices fall we don’t see that same decrease in gas prices.”
Have no fear Rep. Kawasaki because the Dispatch reveals that Alaska’s oil and gas system is already on the governor’s mind with plans to reduce the state’s gas tax credit program following Sen. Cathy Giessel’s (R-Anchorage) special legislative hearing on the very issue.
North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower’s husband exchanged some choice words with the NSB assembly over the brewing scandal of his wife’s alleged misappropriations of funds. The Arctic Sounder has the details; you provide the popcorn.
Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins is worried for good reasons. The rough draft of state DOT future projects showed that not only were there fewer projects on tap, but several important transportation projects in the region have been placed in the dreaded “limbo” category. The Fairbanks News Miner has the details.
Photo Credit to the Dispatch. Captions, all Inside Alaska Politics baby!
Sen Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) wrote an op-ed in The Hill bestowing platitudes onto Donald Trump and his performance during last week’s Fox News 2016 GOP presidential debate.
Last week the PEW Charitable Trust released their 2015 review of each state’s “checkbook” and found Alaska lacking at such a degree that it was awarded an “F” for the second year in a row for lack of government transparency and feasibility in deciphering the state’s “checkbook”. To which Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) responded with a public letter to the governor asking for the MUCH needed improvements.
Add TTP to your lexicon of dreaded acronyms because the Cordova Times explains why the multinational trade agreement (Trans Pacific Partnership) not only threatens democracy as a whole but could also endanger Alaska’s sovereignty.
The bureaucratic headache to officially name a currently unnamed Kenai Peninsula lake to Regency Lake (fancy!) is articulated by the Peninsula Clarion.
Rep. Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage) told the Juneau Empire that he would consider holding a hearing on Medicaid Expansion in the near future.
Gov. Bill Walker’s Medicaid announcement last week got a TON of ink. Now critics are beginning to voice their concerns, including Senior Fellows with the Foundation for Government Accountability in today’s Forbes by making their case this this move would shrink the state’s economy, discourage work, cost more, and it would actually create a new program due to a quirk in Alaska law.
Saxman hearts the designation of “rural” way more than their current “non-rural” label and APRN explains why.
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. 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.
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.
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)_/¯.
IEPis 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?