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June 21, 2018

Coghill Breaks Crayons Over Mandatory Release

It’s always fun when committee meetings become not mind-numbingly dull. For every bazillion hours that make you wish you were watching paint dry, there’s a precious moment of drama. And if you’re lucky, you even get crayon-breaking and a tantrum. Behold today’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, and its Chair, Senator John Coghill (R-North Pole). The omnibus crime bill (SB91) was passed a couple years ago, and since then all the inevitable bugs and problems found in a gigantic bill are being worked out. SB150 is one of those mechanisms meant to deal with the pre-trial portion of the bill. One…

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Transparency? You can’t HANDLE transparency.

Let’s talk about why some Republican Senators actually said right out loud that the public should be kept in the dark about ethical issues surrounding legislators who may be voting despite a declared conflict of interest. Let’s just say for a minute that you work for a candy manufacturer. Pick your favorite. Mine is Butterfinger, so we’ll use that here. So, there’s a big Butterfinger factory somewhere in Alaska, and you work there. And let’s also say you’re a member of the Alaska legislature – a senator. Butterfinger is happy to let you work 7 or 8 months of the…

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Voters Duped by Pot Initiative Says GOP Senator

Monday, the Alaska House of Representatives voted to legalize the farming of industrial hemp (the kind that doesn’t get you high). The Senate passed the vote unanimously but only after Sen. Johnny Ellis, the Democrat at the helm retired and gave the bill to a Republican to carry. Because anyone knows that good ideas can NEVER EVER come from Democrats. And by gum, we’d rather stop entrepreneurs from launching new businesses, and stonewall local farmers, let great legislation wither and die in committee, and fold our arms in the corner than give credit where credit is due. Things I learned in…

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UPDATE: HE’S GONE! Meet the New Republican Senator from the Mat-Su!

  As Mike Dunleavy (R-Wasilla) steps down from the state senate to run for Governor, Gov. Bill Walker was tasked with choosing one of three possible replacements to fill out Dunleavy’s term. Walker opted to choose from outside the shallow pool of nominees from the Mat-Su Republican Party’s options, and appointed Mat-Su Borough Assemblyman Randall Kowalke. The fabulously-coiffed Kowalke was at least an already-elected official in some capacity. Walker took a risk by choosing from outside the list, and quickly felt the wrath. The arguments on the surface were difficult to discount. It’s the normal custom of the Party to…

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Anti-Net Neutrality? Follow the Money.

It’s time for a field trip! Before we take a special excursion to the Political Olympics today, let’s try a little experiment. Listen carefully. “Net neutrality.” Did your eyes glaze over? Are you checking your phone? Hey, you in the back of the bus – eyes forward! It’s a problem. And I’m going to resist the temptation to slip into wonkiness and lose you. Because it’s too important of an issue to lose you and there are plenty of places you can go if you want to get into the weeds of net neutrality. The bottom line is that your…

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Why Alaskans Hate the Government

You know that old song from the 70s, “If you can’t report on the governmental body you know, report on the governmental body you’re with.” Or something like that. Anyway, I’m here, so… DATELINE: DELTA JUNCTION, ALASKA – Somewhere south of the Granite Mountains, somewhere east of Fairbanks, west of the Canadian border, and squarely in the middle of what most Americans would call “nowhere.” The current temperature is about -20F with the wind chill factor. I don’t even know what it is without the wind chill factor because frankly, here, it doesn’t matter. Wind chill factor is everything. The…

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Epic Non-Apology for ‘Serious Retaliation’ from Wasilla Senator

You’ll all be pleased to know that the Alaska legislature is still the best reality show on the internets. And as per history, Wasilla Republicans continue to deliver the goods. For those of you who need a little background, I’ll try to make this as quick and painless as possible. Senator David Wilson (R-Wasilla) was outed on the AK Landmine for committing a weird and distasteful display of vulgarity and all-around inappropriate creepiness to a well-respected high-level staffer. We’ll call her Ann Smith [not her name]. The bottom line is that Wilson was trying to get a listen to a…

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Alaska Needs a Hostage Negotiator

Relationship counselors get a bad rap. Probably because it’s too late by the time one person insists it’s important to do. Oh, you go along, and at some point the therapist looks at you and rolls his eyes and tells you you’re nuts to stick around for more crazy town. OK, maybe that was just my experience, but it’s going to take more than a fancy talker with comfy sofas to help what’s going on in Juneau. They need a hostage negotiator. A terrorism expert. I’m talking Bruce Willis in “Die Hard” caliber. I’m sure some precious snowflake lawmaker is…

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The Pete Kelly Lisa Murkowski Surreality Show

State Sen. Pete Kelly, a Republican from Fairbanks, has introduced a bill to allow University of Alaska students to carry guns on campuses and into dorms. That’s public policy even more harebrained than putting pregnancy tests into bar bathrooms. Did Pete go to college? Did he live in a dorm? If so, he apparently didn’t notice that dorms aren’t exactly hothouses of good judgment. Adding firearms just increases the opportunity for adolescent bad judgment to become truly tragic. I sure wouldn’t send my kid to live in a dorm populated with gun-toting teenagers. I haven’t figured out what Kelly does…

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Alaskan Reps Weigh In on Syrian Refugees

Even though state and local officials have no actual power over preventing or allowing refugees to be placed in their state – nearly all of them have decided to weigh in on the issue. The 10,000 or so refugees that were originally planned on being brought to the US for temporary placement would go through “13 separate security screenings – at the international, federal and state level – before they are considered for resettlement,” but that doesn’t seem to be enough for some members of the Alaskan delegation. While not a single one of the terrorists that attacked Paris last…

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