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].

Part of a totem pole stands against a blue sky with patchy white clouds

Alaska’s Native and political leaders praise Supreme Court decision on Indian Child Welfare Act

By: - June 15, 2023

On Thursday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act in a 7-2 decision. The ruling preserves a 35-year-old law intended to address the harm caused by the federal government’s boarding school program by prioritizing the placement of Alaska Native and American Indian children into tribal homes. Alaska Native […]

Flashing lights on a police car

Alaska State Troopers issued a statewide Amber Alert. There was no crime.

By: - June 14, 2023

On Tuesday afternoon, Alaska State Troopers broadcast an emergency message across the state: A 2-year-old in Fairbanks had been taken from her caregiver and was missing. The alert was broadcast by TV and radio, as well as transmitted to the cellphones of hundreds of thousands of people across the state. The 2-year-old was found in […]

Why did Alaskans statewide get an Amber Alert on Tuesday?

By: - June 14, 2023

On Tuesday afternoon, cellphones across the state beeped with emergency tones as the Alaska State Troopers attempted to find two-year-old Karma Brown, who briefly went missing in Fairbanks. Brown was found safe within 40 minutes, but not before Alaskans from Adak to Metlakatla were alerted via the national Wireless Emergency Alert system. “The Amber Alert […]

A voter joins a line of voters waiting to cast their ballots on Aug. 15 at the state Division of Elections office in Anchorage. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

New ballot measure seeks to restrict spending on Alaska elections

By: - June 13, 2023

A group that brought ranked-choice voting to Alaska is now seeking to restrict big money campaign donations after a federal appeals court erased the state’s prior limits. Alaskans for Better Elections submitted a proposed ballot measure to the Alaska Division of Elections in early May. If approved by the division, and if the group gathers […]

Alaska legislative ethics committee opens another investigation into Rep. David Eastman

By: - June 12, 2023

The Alaska Legislature’s ethics committee is investigating two complaints against Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, members said during a Monday hearing. The complaints involve allegations that Eastman used state resources for a partisan political purpose and improperly solicited donations for a previously existing legal defense campaign during the legislative session. “Both of those complaints will be […]

Sullivan defends Trump while Peltola and Murkowski reserve judgment after indictment

By: - June 10, 2023

The three members of Alaska’s Congressional delegation offered a variety of reactions to Friday’s indictment of President Donald Trump. While Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, offered comments in defense of the former president, Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said they are reserving judgment until the legal process advances. “You cannot take lightly […]

A high school student dressed in a suit and tie sits at a table with a laptop while speaking to people off-camera.

Alaska state school board advances proposal to ban trans girls from girls high school sports teams

By: - June 9, 2023

Alaska’s state school board voted almost unanimously Thursday to advance a proposed regulation that would bar transgender girls from playing on girls’ high school sports teams in the state. The vote will open a 30-day public comment period. After that period, the board will consider amending, rejecting or adopting the proposal. The decision comes amid […]

Some Republican states depart, but Alaska will stay with multistate voter fraud prevention network

By: - June 7, 2023

The state of Alaska will keep its membership in the Electronic Registration Information Center, a nonprofit network that helps states keep track of registered voters and reduce fraud, an official at the Alaska Division of Elections confirmed Wednesday. Eight Republican-led states have withdrawn from the multistate partnership, known as ERIC, since far-right groups and former […]

The trans-Alaska pipeline is seen in 2005. (Photo by Luca Galuzzi/

Saudi Arabia’s oil production cut could affect Alaska’s state finances

By: - June 7, 2023

Alaska’s state budget for the next fiscal year hasn’t even been signed into law yet, but its expectations for oil revenue may already be out of date. On Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration raised its estimates for oil prices in the second half of this year and in 2024. The revised estimate came two […]

White flowers in a bush are seen in front of the ornamental columns of the Alaska Capitol

Here’s what passed and what didn’t in Alaska’s legislative session

By: - June 5, 2023

Alaska’s legislative session ended last month, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy has yet to consider most of the 31 bills passed by both House and Senate this spring. The Legislature’s 31 bills are the third-fewest of any first-year session since statehood. Only 2017 (26 bills) and 2019 (29 bills) had fewer. It isn’t clear which, if […]

The U.S. Capitol Building is seen on Oct. 22, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Congress votes to avert debt crisis, changing food stamp and family aid programs in the process

By: - June 2, 2023

As the state of Alaska works to fix a huge backlog in food-stamp applications from residents in need, Congress has thrown a new wrinkle into the effort. The bill signed by President Joe Biden on Friday to raise the federal debt ceiling and avert a first-of-its-kind federal default also mandates changes to the federally funded […]

A statue of Charles Bunnell, the first president of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, as the University of Alaska Fairbanks was once known, is seen on Sept. 18 on the UAF campus. An administrative order issued by Gov. Mike Dunleavy removes college-degree requirements for most state jobs. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy appoints figure behind illegal loyalty-pledge scheme to university board

By: - June 1, 2023

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has appointed Tuckerman Babcock, a longtime Republican and former aide, to the University of Alaska Board of Regents. Babcock, together with the governor, orchestrated an illegal loyalty pledge scheme, a federal judge ruled two years ago. The governor’s office announced Babcock’s appointment late Wednesday after the Alaska Legislature rejected a prior pick […]