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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Note from Rep. Gara: Public Testimony Tomorrow: Oil Company Subsidy

Rep. Gara Newsletter

Tomorrow the House Rules Committee, which normally does not hold hearings, is holding public and oil industry testimony on a new version of the Governor’s bill to reduce oil & gas company “tax credit” subsidies. The Governor’s original bill included a modest tax increase to generate needed revenue in his bill, and much of that has been eliminated in the Rules Committee version of the bill.

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NEWS: House Republican Leadership Illegally Appeals Lawsuit to Stop Medicaid Expansion in Alaska

Juneau – The Republican-controlled leadership in the Alaska House of Representatives has filed an appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court of a lawsuit challenging Medicaid expansion in Alaska without approval of the full Alaska Legislature as required by law. The ill-advised 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.

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NEWS: Pot Projected to Raise More Money than Flawed Oil Tax in the Near Future

Juneau – Projections from the Alaska Department of Revenue show that marijuana taxes, alcohol taxes, and hunting and fishing license fees will each raise more revenue than Alaska’s flawed oil production tax in two or three of the next four years.  House Finance Committee member Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) says the projections are a clear indication that the Parnell-era oil tax law is broken and must be fixed. 

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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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NEWS: Alaska House Votes to Oppose the Sale of Frankenfish

Juneau – The Alaska House of Representatives voted unanimously Friday night in favor of House Joint Resolution 28 sponsored by House Resources Committee member Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage). HJR 28 puts the Alaska House on record opposing the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of a genetically engineered salmon being sold for human consumption. Additionally, the resolution urges Congress to enact legislation requiring genetically engineered products be labeled.

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