Alaska News Roundup for August 21

  • The proposed borough-wide marijuana tax ballot measure went up in smoke at the last Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly The reason? Too many unknowns to properly assess tax rates on this burgeoning economic driver.
  • The Dispatch’s Dermot Cole’s recent article figuratively took Sen. Dan Sullivan out to the toolshed over the senator’s flip-flopping on his Law of the Sea treaty stance.
  • Politico examines the political landscape shift that has occurred during Pres. Obama’s tenure in office from state to federal levels (Blue–>Purple–>Red with Congressional seats and Blue–>Red with legislative seats; Alaska being the one exception).
    2009

    2009 State Legislatures. Democrats controlled 27 and Republicans controlled 14.

    2014

    2015 State Legislatures. Democrats control 11 and Republicans control 30.

  • Rep. Sam Kito (D-Juneau) wrote an eloquent op-ed in the Juneau Empire about how the recent legislative decision to sue the state will be a “bad investment”.
  • Flint Hills’ doesn’t want to actually clean up the toxic chemical mess left behind from their closed North Pole refinery and is asking the state for even less stringent standards to save THEM money. APRN has the details.
  • The Permanent Fund ended FY15 with a $52.8 billion bang!   The Juneau Empire shares that this amount is what’s left AFTER transferring $1.4 billion to the Permanent Fund Dividend for our October PFD checks.
  • Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has a new candidate in Trevor Shaw! While he will be running as a write-in candidate, one of my little birds tell me that this 20-year-old is “hungry and ready to win”.

    trevor shaw

    Photo Credit of one of my little birds

  • In good news/bad news: ConocoPhillis begins drilling a new well despite the current $40.80 barrel of crude! Bad news is that they are drilling into the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which the Dispatch reports have NEVER happened since its establishment in 1923.
  • Rep. Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) fought and won a NOAA emergency hearing on the growing problem with the current groundfish measure.
  • It’s officially going to get more expensive to go court now that the state court fees goes into effect for everyone (citizens, groups, attorneys and even reporters). The Peninsula Clarion reports that the revenue raised from these fees goes into the state’s general fund and not the Alaska Court System.
  • Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is not amused by Shell’s Arctic oil exploration permits and mentioned to Politico that it helps that the president doesn’t have to run for reelection.
  • The Frontiersman writes about the recent hearing Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan co-hosted on recent EPA wetland rule changes.
  • Ready for some GOOD NEWS? One of my little birds pointed me toward a recent finding by the Food Research & Action Center that found that the number of American families receiving SNAP (food benefits) has decreased to pre-Great Recession levels! While Alaska’s percentage of families facing food hardships won’t be known till the annual report later this year/early 2016, here is a snapshot of Alaska and a few of the other states for comparison.

    Food

    Image Credit of FRAC.org

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