Author

James Brooks

James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Alaska Legislature votes to preserve savings accounts for education, ferry system

By: - May 19, 2022

Hours before the end of the Alaska Legislature’s regular session, the state Senate voted 14-4 to approve a bill that will keep the state’s Higher Education Investment Fund and two ferry-system-related savings accounts from being automatically drained at the end of the fiscal year. The bill had already passed the state House. The investment fund […]

Alaska Legislature votes to limit child marriage

By: - May 19, 2022

The Alaska Legislature on Wednesday voted to ban marriages for Alaskans younger than 16 and approved new restrictions on marriages involving 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds.  House Bill 62 advances to Gov. Mike Dunleavy for consideration. “This bill will help reduce situations where minors end up in marriage with an abusive older spouse,” said Senate Majority Leader […]

Legislature approves budget with $3,200 payout per Alaskan after House balks at bigger figure

By: - May 19, 2022

Three minutes before 11 p.m. on the last day of its regular session, the Alaska Legislature finalized a state budget that will pay each eligible Alaskan about $3,200 later this year.  As late as Saturday, it appeared possible that the House and Senate would agree on a $5,500 payment, but lawmakers settled on a lower […]

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the November jobs report in the State Dining Room of the White House on December 03, 2021 in Washington, DC. According to the U.S. Labor Department, the economy added 210,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 4.2%. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

President Biden to visit Anchorage briefly on Thursday

By: - May 18, 2022

President Joe Biden will stop briefly in Anchorage on Thursday during a flight from Washington, D.C., to Asia. The president’s stopover was revealed in a notice published this week by the Federal Aviation Administration. According to the notice, Air Force One and supporting aircraft will stop in Anchorage sometime between 1:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. […]

Feds sue Alaska over management of Kuskokwim fisheries

By: - May 18, 2022

The federal government sued Alaska’s state government and the state Department of Fish and Game on Tuesday, saying in a filing at the U.S. District Court in Anchorage that the state illegally opened the Kuskokwim River for salmon fishing.  The lawsuit seeks an injunction to block similar future actions by the state. Low salmon returns […]

After larger deal fails, state lawmakers propose payout of up to $3,850 per Alaskan

By: - May 17, 2022

A compromise state budget containing as much as $3,850 in Permanent Fund dividends and energy payments for each eligible Alaskan is heading to final votes on the last regular day of the Alaska Legislature. A six-member committee completed work on the compromise budget late Tuesday, three days after the Alaska House failed to agree with […]

The Boney Courthouse in downtown Anchorage, across the street from the larger Nesbett Courthouse, holds the Alaska Supreme Court chambers. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska’s redistricting board again gerrymandered map to benefit Republicans, judge rules

By: - May 17, 2022

The three Republican-appointed members of Alaska’s state redistricting board unconstitutionally gerrymandered a map of Anchorage state senate seats to favor Republican candidates, an Anchorage Superior Court judge ruled late Monday night. “In summary, the totality of the circumstances leads this court to conclude that the majority of the board acted in concert with at least […]

Alaska Legislature OKs increase to rural power subsidy

By: - May 16, 2022

Residents of 194 rural Alaska towns and villages will get more of their monthly power bill subsidized by the state if Gov. Mike Dunleavy signs legislation approved Monday by the Alaska House of Representatives.  On Monday, the state House voted 38-2 to increase the maximum subsidy allowed under the state’s Power Cost Equalization program. The […]

Alaska House approves major update to alcohol laws, including changes for breweries

By: - May 15, 2022

The president of the Alaska Brewers Guild held his head in his hands, the Senate president laughed and smiled, and the head of Alaska’s largest alcohol trade organization exchanged high-fives with lawmakers as the Alaska House decisively ended 10 years of struggle by passing a sweeping reform of the state’s alcohol laws. “I think we’re […]

Alaska House rejects $5,500 payout, sends budget to negotiating committee

By: - May 14, 2022

After three days of delay and doubt about the outcome, the Alaska House of Representatives turned down a Senate-written budget containing $5,500 payments for eligible Alaskans. Those opposed to the budget cited concerns about spending exceeding revenue. The House’s 18-22 vote against the Senate proposal means two different plans will now go to a six-member […]

Alaska House proposes naming new bridge after Don Young

By: - May 13, 2022

Alaska’s longest single-span bridge would be named after former Congressman Don Young under legislation passed Wednesday by the Alaska House of Representatives. The House voted 36-2 to name the planned Juneau Creek bridge on the Sterling Highway after Young, who died earlier this year after 49 years in office. Reps. Ron Gillham, R-Kenai, and David […]

Alaska Senate approves bill formally recognizing Native tribes

By: - May 13, 2022

Alaska’s state government would formally recognize all of Alaska’s 229 federally recognized tribes under legislation passed Friday by the state Senate in a 15-0 vote. If signed into law by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, the measure will be mostly ceremonial. Lawmakers said it nonetheless represents an opportunity to respect Alaska Natives and tribal organizations that have […]