Members of the Alaska House, in a long floor sesson on Wednesday, debate the value of stiffening drug-law penalities in the face of increasing fentanyl overdose deaths. The bill, HB 66, would reclassify contribution to an overdose death as second-degree murder; currently, those who deliver drugs that cause overdoses can be charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Bill to stiffen drug penalties, aimed at fentanyl epidemic and overdoses, faces Alaska House vote

BY: - May 11, 2023

Spurred by the state’s sharp increase in fentanyl-overdose deaths, the Alaska Legislature is considering a bill that would make those who supply the drug subject to potential second-degree murder charges in cases that lead to death. The measure, House Bill 66, was introduced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who used part of his Jan. 23 State […]

A sign is outside Ann Arbor polling place, Nov. 8, 2022. (Photo by Laina G. Stebbins/Michigan Advance)

A GOP claim that Michigan purposely tried to encourage voter fraud doesn’t fit with facts

BY: - May 5, 2023

Republicans at a recent congressional hearing accused Michigan’s chief election official of deliberately leaving tens of thousands of dead voters on the rolls in order to encourage illegal voting. Even at a time of intense partisan conflict over election policies, it was a strikingly direct charge against a sitting official — and one made not […]

Alaska House votes to keep shooting ranges open during most disasters

BY: - May 4, 2023

The Alaska House of Representatives has approved a bill that allows gun stores and shooting ranges to stay open during most state-declared disaster emergencies. If approved by the state Senate and Gov. Mike Dunleavy, House Bill 61 would forbid government-declared disaster declarations from limiting the sale or transfer of firearms during a disaster unless “all […]

Heidi Hedberg, then-interim commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health, speaks at a news conference on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, at the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau. She has since become the commissioner-designee. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska health department pledges to halve 10,000-person food-stamp backlog within six months

BY: - May 3, 2023

After a lawsuit from Alaskans in need of food aid, the Alaska Department of Health has agreed to cut the waiting list for the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by half in six months. The action was among several conditions in an agreement announced Tuesday between the state and 10 plaintiffs who filed a class-action […]

A troller plies the waters of Sitka Sound earlier this year. (Photo by Max Graham)

To protect orcas, federal judge orders closure of iconic Southeast Alaska troll fishery

BY: and - May 3, 2023

A federal judge issued an order Tuesday that appears to close an iconic Southeast Alaska salmon fishery for at least the summer season — a decision that threatens hundreds of jobs and a $30 million industry in response to a conservation group’s lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed by the Washington state-based Wild Fish Conservancy, seeks to […]

An indoor basketball court is seen in an undated photo. (Photo by Tom Sibley/Getty Images)

Alaska sports board decides against barring trans girls from girls sports, for now

BY: - May 2, 2023

The board that governs school sports in Alaska decided against adopting a change to its bylaws  that would have prevented transgender girls from participating in girls sports. But the Alaska School Activities Association said its board could still adopt the change in the future if state Department of Education and Early Development rules compel it […]

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, on right, greets University of Virginia School of Law Professor Amanda Frost before she testifies before the committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on May 2, 2023, in Washington, D.C. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was invited but declined to testify before the committee, which is holding the hearing after a recent ProPublica investigation revealed that Thomas had accepted numerous luxury vacations for years from a billionaire Texas Republican real estate developer and, in a separate matter, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch did not reveal that a property he sold in Colorado was purchased by an executive at a law firm that frequently has business before the court. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

After revelations of luxury trips, Democrats argue U.S. Supreme Court needs ethics code

BY: - May 2, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. Supreme Court justices should follow a strict code of ethics when receiving gifts and travel or doing business with political funders and attorneys, argued Democratic senators Tuesday at a hearing that Chief Justice John Roberts declined to attend. After a spate of investigative articles detailing Justice Clarence Thomas’ luxury travel and real […]

Dunleavy administration wins billion-dollar revenue dispute against Alaska Legislature

BY: - May 2, 2023

A billion-dollar financial issue flagged since 2018 by the Alaska Legislature’s auditor is not a problem, an Anchorage Superior Court judge ruled Friday. In a five-page decision, Judge Andrew Guidi said the state is not required to deposit the the money it received as a result of an oil pipeline tariff decision into the state’s […]

(Photo by Phil Roeder/Getty Images)

U.S. Supreme Court to hear N.J. fishing case that could limit federal agency powers

BY: - May 1, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case from New Jersey commercial fishermen next term that could significantly constrain federal agencies’ rulemaking, the court said Monday. The order announcing the court would hear the case, an appeal from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals initially brought by New Jersey fishing operations that objected to paying […]

An indoor basketball court is seen in an undated photo. (Photo by Tom Sibley/Getty Images)

Public testimony on proposed rule shows support for trans girls in Alaska sports

BY: - May 1, 2023

During public testimony before the Alaska School Activities Association board on Monday, some Alaskans staunchly opposed a proposed rule that would prohibit transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports. The testimony was in response to a proposed change in ASAA’s current bylaws, which allow transgender girls to play on a team that aligns with their […]

Bulk food purchased with the $1.68 million Gov. Mike Dunleavy put towards supporting food banks is staged for delivery in Food Bank of Alaska's Anchorage warehouse on April 21, 2023. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska food banks still ‘inundated’ as state works to fix food stamp backlog

BY: - April 29, 2023

Southeast Alaska Food Bank patrons have doubled since last November. Director Chris Schapp said demand continues as high as it’s ever been. A major driver has been the months-long backlog for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps, in the Division of Public Assistance. “We’ve just been inundated with people needing help,” he […]

Al Gross should have stayed on U.S. House ballot, Alaska Supreme Court says

BY: - April 28, 2023

The Alaska Division of Elections improperly removed Al Gross, an independent candidate for U.S. House, from last year’s special election ballot, the Alaska Supreme Court said in a ruling published Friday. Gross withdrew from the race after finishing third among 48 candidates in the special primary election that was the first step in filling the […]