NEWS: Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Supports Long Overdue Decision to Drop Failed Lawsuit to Stop Medicaid Expansion in Alaska

Anchorage – Earlier today, a majority of the members of the Alaska Legislative Council voted to stop the lawsuit challenging Medicaid expansion in Alaska. The lawsuit was dismissed in March by a Superior Court Judge after finding that the Social Security Act allowed the Governor to initiate Medicaid expansion and that existing state law required Governor Walker to provide Medicaid to the group of Alaskans eligible for expansion. The Alaska Legislative Council is made up of members of both the Alaska House of Representatives and the Alaska Senate and it represents the Alaska Legislature in some instances when the Legislature is not in session. Today’s action by the Legislative Council stops an appeal of the lawsuit to the Alaska Supreme Court.

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NEWS: Legislative Session Ends Without a Budget as Special Session Looms

Juneau – Tonight, the Second Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature came to a close without any significant action to address the ongoing fiscal crisis brought on by the sudden drop in oil prices and the broken promises of increased oil production. The House and Senate Majorities both failed to pass the FY 2017 Operating Budget.

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NEWS: Independent and Democratic Lawmakers Call for a Halt to Illegal Lawsuit Challenging Medicaid Expansion in Alaska

Juneau – Today, the members of Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition sent a letter to the high-priced Washington D.C. law firm of Bancroft, PLLC asking them to not move forward on an appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court of a lawsuit challenging the expansion of Medicaid in Alaska. The authority to move forward with an appeal has not been granted by the full membership of the Alaska House of Representatives as is required by law. Last week, a notice of appeal was illegally filed with the Alaska Supreme Court on behalf of the Alaska Legislative Council and the Alaska House of Representatives. This is despite a clear legal opinion from the Alaska Division of Legal and Research Services that such an appeal must be authorized by a vote of the full Alaska Legislature, which it was not.

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NEWS: The Late Rep. Max Gruenberg’s Final Bill Passes the Alaska Legislature, With a Little Help From His Friends

Juneau – Today, House Bill 147 passed the Alaska Senate by a unanimous vote. Earlier this month, the bill passed the Alaska House of Representatives, also by a unanimous vote. The bill was the brainchild of the late Rep. Max Gruenberg who passed away suddenly in February at the age of 72 while still in office. Rep. Liz Vazquez (R-Anchorage) sponsored HB 147, which does several things including allowing the well-being of pets to be considered by courts in divorce proceedings. Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage) was appointed to the District 16 seat held by Rep. Gruenberg and she quickly became a co-sponsor of HB 147.

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EVENT: Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Press Availability on Tuesday

Juneau – The Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition (AIDC) will hold a press availability Tuesday featuring Representatives Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan), and Matt Claman (D-Anchorage).

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NEWS: House Approves Bill Originally Crafted by the Late Rep. Max Gruenberg

Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed House Bill 273 to simplify, speed up, and lower the cost of vehicle transfers on death. HB 273 will allow a vehicle owner to file an application with the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to designate a beneficiary to take title of a vehicle upon the death of the owner. 

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NEWS: Democrats Call For Return to Work

JUNEAU – The House Democratic Independent Coalition and the Senate Democrats will be holding a press availability at 1pm, TODAY, at the Anchorage LIO to discuss the disappointing lack of progress in the special session and to announce a plan of action for public hearings. 

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NEWS: Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Members Oppose Legislative Break While Vital Legislation Hangs in Limbo

JUNEAU – Today, the Majority organizations in the House and Senate voted to give themselves a vacation by passing House Concurrent Resolution 101. It allows both bodies to recess until May 12. HCR 101 was passed along caucus lines. All thirteen members of the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition and the five members of the Alaska Senate Democrats opposed the resolution.

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