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].

Rep. Josiah Patkotak, I-Utqiagvik, speaks in favor of House Joint Resolution 6, the resolution in support of the Willow oil project, on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, at the Alaska State Capitol. The resolution passed 36-0. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska legislator, farthest north in the US, resigns after winning North Slope mayor’s race

By: - October 11, 2023

Rep. Josiah Aullaqsruaq Patkotak, America’s farthest north state legislator, resigned from the Alaska Legislature on Tuesday after winning election as mayor of the North Slope Borough. Patkotak’s resignation opens a vacancy in the Alaska House of Representatives, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy has 30 days to nominate someone to fill the seat.  The governor’s office has […]

The thunderbird is seen above a basketball rim in the Terry Miller Legislative Office Building gymnasium, behind the Alaska State Capitol, on April 18, 2023. The building is the former site of the Capitol School. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska school sports board votes to exclude transgender girls from girls teams

By: - October 10, 2023

Transgender girls in Alaska are now banned from competing on girls’ school sports teams. The board of the Alaska School Activities Association — which regulates school sports in the state — voted 5-3 on Monday to adopt a new rule affecting transgender girls. The rule was required by the Alaska state school board, which voted […]

A hemp crop waits to be harvested in Lincolnshire for British CBD oil producer Crop England on Aug. 27, 2021, in Grantham, England. The farm supplies Crop England, a British CBD oil producer founded in 2019 by Mike and Jackie Lamyman. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Alaska moves to restrict marijuana-like ‘diet weed’ products derived from hemp

By: - October 7, 2023

The state of Alaska has approved new regulations on inexpensive cannabis-like products derived from hemp, sometimes referred to as “diet weed.” The new changes mean intoxicating hemp-derived products will have to be regulated by the state’s marijuana control board, an act that will see them removed from vape shops and other unregulated stores across the […]

The front of the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau is seen on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

Two dozen Alaska legislators join opposition to Kroger-Albertsons merger plans

By: - October 6, 2023

Almost half of the Alaska Legislature has signed a letter opposing a merger of two grocery chains that could lead to hundreds of layoffs and the closure of local stores. On Monday, 24 of the Legislature’s 60 members asked the chair of the Federal Trade Commission to block the impending $24.6 billion merger of Kroger […]

Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, is seen on March 3, 2020 in the Alaska House of Representatives in this screenshot from KTOO 360TV's Gavel Alaska. (KTOO 360TV screenshot)

After three years, former Alaska lawmaker will face election-tampering trial in November

By: - October 5, 2023

A former Alaska state legislator will go on trial Nov. 27, accused of misconduct during Alaska’s 2018 primary and general elections. Former Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, was indicted by state prosecutors in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and several subsequent delays have put off her trial until now. LeDoux’s former chief of staff, Lisa Simpson, […]

The offices of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services are seen in Juneau on Friday, July 1, 2022.

Alaska Department of Health turns down new hospital facility in South Anchorage

By: - October 2, 2023

The Alaska Department of Health has rejected a new $18 million emergency hospital facility in South Anchorage, saying in an analysis that there isn’t enough demand for it. In a public notice published Friday, the state said it will not issue what is known as a “certificate of need” for the facility. Alaska is one […]

This slide presented to the Alaska House Finance Committee on Thursday, March 16, 2023, shows a satellite view of the Mustang Road. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority is planning to give the road to the state as part of its annual state-mandated dividend. (Alaska Legislature screenshot)

After being bailed out by Alaska’s state government, North Slope oil field is eyed for sale

By: - September 30, 2023

Alaska’s state-owned development bank is planning to sell a troubled North Slope oil field development that previously received a state bailout loan. At a regularly scheduled meeting Sept. 21, the board of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority agreed to open final negotiations for the sale of Mustang Holdings LLC to the subsidiary of […]

This oil and gas offshore infrastructure is located in Cook Inlet. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz/Northern Journal)

As oil companies show little interest, feds cancel plans for drilling off Alaska shores

By: - September 29, 2023

There will be no new offshore oil and gas sales in federal waters near Alaska anytime soon. In a plan released Friday, the Department of Interior said it will hold just three oil and gas lease sales in American federal waters between 2024 and 2029. All three will take place in the Gulf of Mexico. […]

Alaska Permanent Fund leaders discuss whether to seek exemption from open-government law

By: - September 28, 2023

The trustees of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. are considering whether to back legislation that could exempt the corporation from the state’s open meetings act and the state’s procurement rules, as well as conceal personnel records from public records requests. Trustees could also find themselves supporting a proposed constitutional amendment that restructures the spendable portion […]

President Joe Biden mingles with service members and others in the audience at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Sept. 11, 2023, after he delivered a speech commemorating the terror attack that occurred 22 years earlier. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

U.S. military pay in question, including thousands in Alaska, as government shutdown approaches

By: - September 27, 2023

The three members of Alaska’s congressional delegation are trying to ensure that members of the U.S. military, civilian Department of Defense workers and military contractors remain paid during a partial federal government shutdown that could begin as soon as Sunday. In separate statements, Republican Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, and Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola […]

The offices of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. are seen Monday, June 6, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Permanent Fund improves after money-losing year but withdrawals still exceed earnings

By: - September 26, 2023

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s investment earnings were again less than withdrawals in the 12 months ending in June, according to preliminary data scheduled to be released at the corporation’s annual meeting this week in Anchorage. The corporation, which manages the $74.9 billion Alaska Permanent Fund, earned a 5.18% return, less than its goal of […]

A marijuana activist holds a flag during a march on Independence Day on July 4, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Alaska relaxes rules for marijuana ads, allows free samples

By: - September 25, 2023

Alaska Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom has signed new regulations that allow the state’s legal marijuana businesses to advertise more widely and to distribute free samples of marijuana at retail stores. The regulations, signed Sept. 8, go into effect Oct. 8, and are part of a broad wave of regulatory changes affecting the state’s marijuana industry. […]