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Leg with Louie: Bring Back the Legislative Softball League – May 14

Let’s drop the pretense that the state legislature will ever get business done in 90 days. The idea was questionable to begin with. Concocted by business-owner legislators who wanted the legislature to run with more efficiency so they could dispatch with budgets and get back home to their burger joints, hotels, fishing operations etc. An admirable goal in the abstract, …

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Leg With Louie: Another DNR Power Grab – April 30

Did you know that under HB 82, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would be able to authorize lateral drilling and fracking for oil and gas development beneath all of the areas that the state legislature has specifically set aside for special protection? This includes State Game Sanctuaries, State Game Refuges, State Parks, and State Critical Habitat Areas. Lateral drilling …

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Leg With Louie: A Green Bank in a Bill Made Better

HB 170 proposes to create an Energy Independence Program and Fund administered by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. This bill, and its Senate companion, SB 123, would be Alaska’s first attempt at forming a Green Bank. In general terms, a Green Bank is a public, quasi-public or non-profit entity explicitly established to facilitate private investment into domestic low-carbon, …

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Leg With Louie: Recreational River Repeal – March 12

The Senate Resources Committee will hear SB 97 next week, legislation that seeks to give the Department of Natural Resources the power to authorize commercial development on any state land regardless of its status – refuge or park or otherwise – and to put a fine point on it, the bill proposes to repeal the Recreational River statutes that protect …

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BLOG 03/05/21: Leg with Louie: Bonding for a headache

The Senate Transportation Committee dove this week into the Dunleavy Administration’s proposed General Obligation (G.O.) Bond package. To put out bonds to pay for a suite of shovel-ready projects, this idea has been under discussion for the past few years of flat capital budgets and has a level of bipartisan support. I would say that this Senate hearing is the …

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BLOG 2/26/21: Leg With Louie: Sexual Harassment, Silence, and Supporting Women’s Leadership

On February 24th, Representative Sara Rasmussen of Anchorage gave a floor speech. This speech needs to be heard by Alaskan men and male leaders especially: “…I am excited to announce that the representative from east Anchorage and myself have restarted the Women’s Caucus. This is an incredible year for women leaders in Alaska.  In fact, we have a female minority …

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Leg With Louie: The Starting Gate

The 2021 Legislative Session starts today, with COVID precautions in place. It will be a different year (whatever that means anymore). For one thing, the introduction of visitors from around the state in the gallery to the ovation of House or Senate members – one of the great, humanizing formalities of legislative floor sessions, will be missing this year. Also, …

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REP. EASTMAN ATTENDED D.C. TRUMP RALLY, BUT BLAMES VIOLENCE ON ‘ANTIFA.’ NOW HE FACES CALLS TO RESIGN.

State Rep. David Eastman is facing a torrent of criticism for participating in the Washington, D.C. rally Jan. 6 that led to the storming of the Capitol. A coalition of nine progressive groups in Alaska are calling for the Wasilla Republican to resign or be removed from office, along with other legislators who they say used their official positions to …

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Alaska’s latest election lawsuit would give absentee voters a chance to fix mail-in ballot errors

A lawsuit is seeking to give absentee voters in Alaska a chance to fix mail-in ballot errors that would prevent their votes from being counted. The lawsuit was filed last week by the Alaska Center Education Fund, Alaska Public Interest Research Group and Sitka resident Floyd Tomkins. While voters are able to fix ballot mistakes in some municipal elections, Alaska …

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Leg With Louie: two things you can do today

The Dunleavy Administration has officially squashed hopes that it will pursue a broad vote at home effort anytime soon. The announcement by Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer that Alaska will not conduct a vote at home for the August primary. The legislature provided the Administration with authority, but no mandate to conduct a statewide vote at home in its COVID-19 response …