Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives on Monday, May 2, 2022 at the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau. (James Brooks / Alaska Beacon)

Alaska legislator, member of Oath Keepers, faces lawsuit challenging his eligibility for office

BY: - August 2, 2022

A former member of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly is challenging the eligibility of Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, for state office. Randall Kowalke, aided by the civil rights law firm Northern Justice Project, filed suit in Anchorage Superior Court on Friday, saying in a legal complaint that Eastman’s membership in the Oath Keepers militia violates the […]

Jim Cockrell, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Public Safety, with Gov. Mike Dunleavy, speaks in Wasilla at a May 3, 2022 press conference on opioids. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Historic investment in Alaska public safety will save lives

BY: - August 2, 2022

Since 2020, many states, cities and counties across the Lower 48 drastically cut law enforcement funding in their local jurisdictions – however in Alaska, Gov. Dunleavy and the Legislature have done the exact opposite and provided the Alaska Department of Public Safety with historic funding to combat crime and protect victims. In total, DPS saw […]

After joint legislative effort, Alaska updates definition of consent for sexual assault cases

BY: - July 29, 2022

Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a package of public safety-related bills into law Thursday, including a measure that updates Alaska’s definition of sexual assault. The change had been sought for years by victims’ advocates and allows the state to prosecute someone for sexual assault, even if the victim freezes and doesn’t verbally say “no.” Pre-existing law […]

Alaska joins lawsuit challenging USDA’s prohibition of LGBTQ discrimination

BY: - July 28, 2022

Alaska’s attorney general joined 21 others in suing to block the federal government from enforcing a prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, is focused on school meal and other federal food aid programs. It claims the U.S. Department of Agriculture “issued directives and rules that misconstrue the […]

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks at a press event where Democratic senators spoke in favor of the Right to Contraception Act on July 26, 2022, in Washington, D.C. To the left of Klobuchar is Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. In back of Klobuchar is Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and to the right is Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii. (Photo by Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

Bill guaranteeing right to birth control blocked in U.S. Senate by Republican

BY: - July 27, 2022

WASHINGTON —  U.S. Senate Democrats tried to pass legislation Wednesday that would guarantee women can continue using contraception if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the long-standing precedent, the way it did with abortion.  But Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst blocked their efforts by objecting to Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey’s request for unanimous consent to […]

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, talks with reporters about the Respect for Marriage Act, on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (Photo by Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

GOP support for same-sex marriage protections builds in U.S. Senate

BY: - July 26, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate appears on track to send President Joe Biden a bill in the coming weeks that would guarantee same-sex and interracial couples can marry, even if the Supreme Court overturns the landmark cases that enshrined those rights.  “I think we’re very close,” Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday of efforts […]

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)

Seven apply for upcoming Alaska Supreme Court vacancy

BY: - July 26, 2022

Three sitting judges and two state attorneys are among seven people vying to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Alaska Supreme Court.  The Alaska Judicial Council announced the applicants Monday, and after a series of surveys, interviews and public hearings, will meet in mid-November to pick a list of finalists eligible for the position. Alaska’s […]

Murkowski favors congressional vote on same-sex marriage protections while Sullivan is noncommittal

BY: - July 22, 2022

Sen. Lisa Murkowski said this week that she is likely to vote in favor of a bill protecting same-sex marriage rights, joining four other Republicans and raising the likelihood that the measure can overcome a Senate filibuster. Sixty votes are needed for a bill to advance toward a final vote in the U.S. Senate, and […]

Alaska will formally recognize Native tribes, likely negating planned ballot measure

BY: - July 21, 2022

Gov. Mike Dunleavy will sign a bill giving state recognition to Alaska’s 229 federally recognized Native tribes, the Alaska Federation of Natives said Thursday. In a July 28 ceremony, the governor will also sign bills creating child welfare and education agreements between the state and tribal governments, AFN said. An official in the governor’s office […]

U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Jane Norman/States Newsroom)

U.S. House on bipartisan vote passes bill protecting right to same-sex marriage

BY: - July 19, 2022

WASHINGTON — Both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House voted Tuesday to enshrine the right to same-sex and interracial marriages in federal law, though the bill’s path forward in the Senate is unclear.  The 267-157 bipartisan vote stemmed from concerns that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month to overturn the constitutional right to […]

People protest in response to the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Court's decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Progressives renew call for U.S. Supreme Court expansion after abortion rights decision

BY: - July 18, 2022

WASHINGTON — A group of U.S. House Democrats Monday called for the passage of legislation that would add four justices to the Supreme Court, following the overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that provided the constitutional right to abortion.  “It’s an ultra-right-wing Republican Supreme Court,” Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia said during a […]

Poll workers assist voters at the Westside Community Center in West Des Moines’ Valley Junction neighborhood shortly after 8 a.m. Nov. 3, 2020.

Election officials risk criminal charges under 31 new GOP-imposed penalties

BY: - July 16, 2022

Second in a two-part series. See part one here. Since the 2020 election, Iowa has enacted one new felony and two new misdemeanor offenses targeting election officials.  The state’s omnibus election law, passed in 2021, criminalizes election officials who fail to perform their duties, don’t adequately maintain voter lists, or interfere with other people performing […]