Government & Politics

Alaska Senate votes to support Willow oil project as all legislators line up behind the effort

BY: - February 28, 2023

The Alaska Senate voted unanimously to support the Willow oil project on Monday, following the Alaska House, which voted unanimously in favor of the project last week. The Department of the Interior is scheduled to release its final decision on the project as soon as March 6, and state legislators are only the latest group […]

Kuspuks of varying colors displayed at a tribal consultation meeting in Anchorage on Sept. 21 represent Indigenous victims of violence. From left, the colors are red for missing and murdered indigenous women, orange for victims of boarind schools, the baby kuspuk for children who will never be born, purple for victims of domestic violence, turquoise for victims of sexual assault, multicolor for LGBTQ victims and black for men who are victims. The kuspuks were arrayed at the Justice Department's annual tribal consultation conference required under the Violence Against Woman Act. Since 1993, Alaska's overall rate of violent crime has been higher than the national average, and the rate of reported rape has been three to four times the national average since 2013, statistics show. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Rapes and aggravated assaults push Alaska’s violent-crime rates up; property-crime rates fall

BY: - February 27, 2023

Alaska’s rate of violent crimes has increased, a contrast to the national trends, and the increase is driven by extremely high rates of rape and aggravated assault, according to statistics presented Monday to the state Senate Judiciary Committee. The statistics, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s crime reports and from law enforcement agencies around the […]

Ship Creek flows by a hotel in downtown Anchorage on Feb. 14. The creek, a popular spot for summer salmon fishing, is one of the sites in Alaska's biggest city that was found to contain the PFAS substances, cancer-linked "forever chemicals" that do not degrade. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska lakes’ levels of ‘forever chemicals’ revealed as officials ponder actions to reduce risks

BY: - February 27, 2023

Cancer-linked contaminants known as “forever chemicals” are lurking in Anchorage and Fairbanks waterways that are popular recreation sites or flow near residential neighborhoods, showing the need for a stepped-up state response, according to a newly released study. The study, by the nonprofit Alaska Community Action on Toxics, details the discoveries about perfluoroalkyl substances and polyfluoroalkyl […]

A woman looks at a sonogram in an undated photo. (Photo by John Fedele/Getty Images)

Doctors recount ‘heart-wrenching’ stories in new study on medical care post-Roe

BY: - February 24, 2023

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) are trying to piece together how the end of Roe v. Wade has so far transformed pregnancy-related medical care in America, and the yet-to-be-released preliminary data are alarming, the lead principal investigator told States Newsroom in an exclusive interview. The team has already received dozens of […]

Sen. Scott Kawasaki, in a hallway in the Captiol on Feb. 16, holds up the strip that shows he has tested negative for COVID-19. Kawasaki said he opted to take a test that day. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska legislators on guard after multiple COVID cases are confirmed in the Capitol

BY: - February 24, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic emergency may have officially ended, but the coronavirus is still having an effect on the Alaska Capitol. On Friday, the leaders of the Alaska Senate Finance Committee announced they will institute “voluntary” COVID testing for legislators and staff who work on the committee. The announcement came after several legislators and staff tested […]

Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. takes multimillion-dollar stake in grocery chain Three Bears

BY: - February 24, 2023

A multimillion-dollar share of the Alaska grocery store chain Three Bears is one of the latest additions to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s $200 million in-state investment program. The program, ordered by the board in 2018, has almost finished buying its investments, and the corporation’s board of trustees received an update on the program at […]

Eagles perch on a light post at Kodiak's St. Paul Harbor on Feb. 23, 2018 as wind turbines spin on Pillar Mountain. Kodiak gets virtually all of its electricity generation from non-fossil-fuel sources -- hydropower and wind. A new Alaska Energy Security Task Force created by Gov. Dunleavy is to create a comprehensive plan for generation, transmission and delivery of energy throughout the state. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Dunleavy creates new task force to develop plan for energy produced and delivered within Alaska

BY: - February 23, 2023

Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Thursday launched a new task force to help craft the state’s overall energy policies. The Alaska Energy Security Task Force is “to develop a comprehensive statewide energy plan that will evaluate energy generation, distribution, and transmission for the state of Alaska and its communities,” an administrative order issued by Dunleavy said. […]

Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, will be the new chairwoman of the Idaho Republican Party, one of few women to ever lead the party in its history. (Kelcie Moseley-Morris/Idaho Capital Sun)

Election deniers who lost secretary of state races now run several state GOP operations

BY: - February 23, 2023

Many of the election deniers who ran last year for positions that would have given them control over state elections systems lost their races. But several have found a new path to exert influence: as chair of their state Republican Party.  On Saturday, Kristina Karamo, an activist who rose to prominence for her efforts to […]

Alaska’s state retirement system shows a benefits gap compared to old pension plan

BY: - February 23, 2023

Alaska’s 401(k)-style retirement system for new employees is providing significantly smaller benefits than the pension-style retirement system discontinued in 2006, according to a new analysis from the state Division of Retirement and Benefits. The analysis, presented Thursday to the Senate Finance Committee, comes as legislators are considering whether to revive a pension for new employees […]

Murkowski urges state legislators to focus on issues driving Alaskans to move away

BY: - February 22, 2023

In her annual address to the Alaska Legislature, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski urged state lawmakers to avoid spending too much time on the amount of this year’s Permanent Fund dividend and to focus on problems causing people to move out of the state. For a decade, the number of people moving out of the state […]

Alaska House censures Rep. Eastman for comments about the economic ‘benefit’ of child abuse deaths

BY: - February 22, 2023

The Alaska House of Representatives voted almost unanimously Wednesday to reprimand Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, for speculating the state could financially benefit if child abuse victims died of their abuse. Eastman’s remarks, which he said were intended to criticize some arguments in favor of abortion rights, spread on social media, contributing to a public outcry. […]

Democratic governors in 20 states form reproductive rights alliance

BY: - February 22, 2023

Democratic governors from 20 states across the U.S., led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, have formed a Reproductive Freedom Alliance to safeguard and improve abortion and reproductive health care access “in the face of an unprecedented assault by states hostile to abortion rights,” according to a joint statement. The announcement represents another divide in the […]