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Leg With Louie: Summer Homework 2021

This letter will be shorter than usual. I am busy getting intimate with the boat engine and hydraulic system, with typical pre-season nerves and an ear for rumors of the impending Salmon run.    The news here comes in snippets and is often less real and immediate than the rust frozen bolt that stands between me and a functioning boat (there …

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Leg with Louie: Partisan fighting at the risk of our rights – May 28

It is hard to focus on the lonely hours of Special Session in the AK State Legislature when out in America, the rules are actively being bent toward extreme minority rule in perpetuity based on a lie. At the same time, those who could do something about it are bound by a web of institutional processes from reacting. The new …

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Leg With Louie: Who Benefits? – May 21

Conference committees established under Legislative Uniform Rule 42 are as natural to the legislative process as cottonwood buds are to spring. The state’s operating budget always goes to the conference committee, marking the closure of the regular session. These six-member (three-House, three-Senate) committees settle disagreements between bodies on big-ticket bills. The members seated on the committee generally are not there …

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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: “to hell with politics, just do what’s right for Alaska” – May 7

There are two resolutions under consideration in the legislature as the House and Senate wend their way toward what will be a messy and confused terminus of the regular session. The likely  special session will focus on the Permanent Fund Dividend and federal American Rescue Plan funds. The resolutions are SJR 13 and HJR 19. Both are designed to clarify …

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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: End-Run around Kachemak Bay protections – March 19

The House Fisheries Committee has long been an important place for fisher-folks in the Alaska State Capitol. Not only is it a safe and friendly room to engage in the mosh pit dancing that is fishery politics it also is a committee designed to do things that protect fish and thereby fishing. That is why it is a great and …

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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: Deadlocks Cracked, and Implied Nefariousness

Following weeks of a 20-20 stalemate, Representative Louise Stutes of Kodiak was elected by a single vote to serve as the Speaker of the House, the third woman to serve in this position following Ramona Barnes (1993-94), and Gail Phillips (1995-98). Rep. Kelly Merrick of Eagle River broke rank with the House Republicans to provide the key vote: a brave …