NEWS: Lawmakers Applaud Today’s Superior Court Decision to Dismiss Ill-Advised Lawsuit Over Medicaid Expansion in Alaska

Juneau – Today, Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner issued a ruling in the case brought by the Alaska Legislative Council against Alaska Governor Bill Walker over his decision last year to expand Medicaid without legislative approval. Judge Pfiffner found that the Social Security Act requires Medicaid expansion, and that existing state law required Governor Walker to provide Medicaid to the group of Alaskans eligible for expansion. In his 26-page ruling, Judge Pfiffner granted the Governor’s motion for summary judgement and dismissed the case brought by the Alaska Legislative Council, which is made up of ten members of the Alaska Legislature.

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NEWS: House and Senate Minorities Propose Creating a Caucus of the Whole in the Alaska Legislature

Juneau – Last Friday was the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Alaska Constitution.  The convention in Fairbanks featured 55 Alaskans, elected from all regions and walks of life.  These far-thinking delegates came together as one and crafted a document that has guided not only the state government, but also Alaska’s institutions and people.  The constitutional example is being followed today by the Alaska Senate Democrats and the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition as they propose a new structure for the 29th Alaska Legislature.

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NEWS: Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition and Alaska Senate Democrats Press Availability Scheduled

Juneau – The Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition (AIDC) and Alaska Senate Democrats will hold a press availability before the start the Second Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature. The availability will allow lawmakers to discuss specific issues and take questions from the media. The press availability will be held Tuesday, January 19, at 9 am in the Fahrenkamp Room of the Capital Building in Juneau. The press availability will feature Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) and Alaska Senate Democrats Leader Sen. Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage).

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NEWS: Pre-filed Bill Seeks to End High Cost Legislator Hotel, Dining, and Special Session Perks

Anchorage – Today, three members of the Alaska House of Representatives announced that they have pre-filed legislation to stop expensive charges by some legislators for hotels and meals. The bill also bans legislators from claiming per diem payments, which can exceed $200 per day, when Special Sessions are held in their home towns with no actual hotel costs. Last summer, some legislators and staff billed the state over $400 and $500 per night (including taxes) for hotel rooms in Seattle to attend the annual summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures. This occurred as the state is facing a more than $3 billion budget shortfall.

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NEWS: Massive Scope of Proposed Fiscal Changes Demands Thorough Review of Impacts on Alaskans of All Income Levels

ANCHORAGE – Today, Alaska Governor Bill Walker unveiled an ambitious budget plan called “The New Sustainable Alaska Plan” that shifts much of the burden of paying for state government from the oil and gas industry onto the backs of hard-working, average Alaskans. The Governor’s proposal includes fundamental changes to how vital state services in Alaska are funded including new or increased taxes on income, fishing, mining, tourism, alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel. The Governor’s proposal also makes drastic cuts to vital early education opportunities in Alaska and would result in significantly reduced Permanent Fund Dividends. The 13 members of the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition thank Governor Walker for his leadership and the public process used to come up with the proposed budget plan but will insist that every proposed change be thoroughly vetted by the Alaska Legislature.

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