NEWS: Last Minute Assault on Public Education Hits School Children

Juneau – As the Second Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature reaches the constitutionally mandated end of session, lawmakers and advocates for a healthy K-12 public education system are reeling from a surprise cut to public education. On Tuesday night, the House and Senate Operating Budget Conference Committee slipped a $50 cut to the Base Student Allocation (BSA) into the proposed FY 2017 budget in violation of funding promised by state law.

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NEWS: Alaska House Passes Legislation to Roll-Back Many Unsustainable Oil Industry Subsidies

Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives approved House Bill 247 to significantly reform Alaska’s unsustainable oil tax credit subsidy system. The members of the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition (AIDC) cautiously supported the legislation after participating in a bipartisan effort to amend the bill to dramatically increase savings and fix flaws included in previous versions of the bill.

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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: 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: 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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