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.”

  • Anchorage mayoral candidate Ethan Berkowitz won the police union’s endorsement (and money). Devin Kelly with the Dispatch reports that Amy Demboski attempted to turn lemons into lemonade by using this as a way to further link her opponent to former Mayor and Senator Mark Begich.
  • Alaska’s “Warm Blob” (the Washington Post’s term, not mine) seems to be here to stay and could be linked to CA’s epic drought, major change in wind/weather patterns and the recent appearance of two new “warm blobs” near Hawaii and the generalized West Coast. NOAA predicts that the entire northeast Pacific Ocean will merge into a mega “warm blob” with unpredictable consequences.
  • Andrew Wellner with the Frontiersman has the heated exchange between Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River) and Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) over tapping into the state’s savings account to cover the budget gap.
  • In a Twitter battle to rival Katy Perry vs. Taylor Swift, political pollster and commentator Nate Silver is going after Vox for allegedly using their graphs (!) without attribution…amongst many other things, per Politico.
  • KTOO is amongst several media outlets reporting on not just the lively debate over the state’s film tax credits’ merit, but the beginning of its official walk to the gallows with the senate’s passage of legislation to repeal the film tax credit.
  • Pebble Mine got some love in the form of a letter to Fly Rod and Reel urging congress to uphold specific protections for Bristol Bay.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) launched his 2016 presidential bid yesterday with a major insult to Alaska by intentionally leaving it out of his campaign logo. This slight did not go unnoticed by the New York Times or a few others that have playfully tweeting about the slight.Rubio Logo
  • The Fairbanks News Miner reports that Rep. Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole) gained a check mark in the win category with the House passage of her legislation to give time served to convicted criminals against their sentences.
  • Ok poli-SCI wonks; ready your smelling salts because Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has finally announced that the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act will soon be hitting the Senate floor before the end of the month.
  • While the Kodiak Launch Complex won’t be finished with their renovations until the end of the year, Alaska Aerospace Corporation is already in talks with prospective clients. Considering Alaska is one of the few states with approved drone testing sites, it’s not surprising.
  • The Anchorage Assembly is mulling over the idea to request a five-year fiscal plan from the Anchorage School District, per the Dispatch.
  • The Kenai Peninsula Borough if officially and permanently making their legislative process more transparent by now requiring a fiscal note explaining the financial impact on the borough for all ordinances and resolutions, per the Peninsula Clarion.
  • It’s not all doom and gloom coming out of the legislature’s budget hearings. The Seward City News reports that the Seward Moose Pass Imagination Library chapter has received funding to continue operations (promoting literacy and learning amongst early learners) for another year.
  • The Mat-Su is one step closer to having a greenbelt park in Wasilla due to the ruling of the State Supreme Court that will allow a land swap. The Frontiersman has the backstory of the lawsuit and the details of the ruling.
  • It appears from Nat Herz’s article in the Dispatch that the Anchorage LIO will be staying put in the Taj MacHawker for at least another year, with the option to purchase the building and land being explored.
  • The State Pot Board is one step closer to becoming a reality since the House Finance Committee released it yesterday, according to the Juneau Empire.
  • KMXT reports on the six state Recorder’s Offices that will be closed due to budget cuts. The cities receiving the ax are Bethel, Homer, Sitka, Valdez, Kodiak, and Ketchikan.
  • The Fairbanks News Miner’s Matt Buxton reports that there has been a compromised reached on the Interior Energy Project bill within the House Finance Committee by the removal of a number of amendments first put forward by Rep. Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage).
  • Alaska is on its way to having an official Scottish tartan with HB193. Nat Herz tweeted what it would look like via scotweb.co.uk:AK Tartan
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