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May 13, 2021

Wasilla Rep. wants marriage defense for ‘rape by fraud’

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED The legislature finalized House Bill 76 this week that allows Alaska to keep millions of dollars in critical federal covid-related funding. But it didn’t come easy. The House passed their version of the bill back in March, then it went to the Senate, which brought it to the floor with 41 amendments, and only 2 days to spare before the money evaporated.  Republicans had some doozies. Majority leader Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) had an amendment which said that “biological girls should play biological girls, and biological boys should play biological boys” in high school sports. Minority Leader Tom Begich (D-Anchorage) pointed out…

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Misfire and $$ Down the Toilet

SHOW ME THE MONEY It’s budget time in Juneau, and we’re looking at a strange set of circumstances that is complicating the process. Weirdly, it’s a giant influx of cash! You were not expecting that, were you? Joe Biden’s amazing American Rescue Plan means Alaska will receive about $1.1 billion, plus hundreds of millions more for education from K-UA, tribes and local governments, and infrastructure projects. You’ll recall Sen. Murkowski, Sen. Sullivan, and Rep. Young all voted against this bill. Guess they are not interested in bringing home the bacon anymore. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Now, the Alaska House and Senate must determine how to legally invest the money for the greater good of all Alaskans. Thankfully, there…

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No Room for Nazis, & more committee madness

NO ROOM FOR NAZIS The good news is that the actual Nazi apologist on the Alaska Human Rights Commission was removed. Gov. Dunleavy felt that her defense of Nazi phrases was… “distracting.” I think the word he was looking for was “wrong” or “abhorrent.” But regardless, Anchorage Assembly Member Jamie Allard is off the commission even though she still sits on the Anchorage Assembly. Tuesday night, when Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson addressed the chamber saying we must speak out forcefully against Nazism and hate, she was booed by a contingent of Allard fans in the audience. It’s irrelevant what your political party is, when…

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When it’s quiet in Juneau…

Any parent of a toddler knows that feeling when you’re going about your business, and suddenly you realize… it’s been quiet for a while. Welcome to this week. We’re in between special sessions 2 and 3 (TBA) and a hush has fallen. Enjoy the quiet because pretty soon we’re going to discover WHY. TAKING IT TO THE PEOPLE Since deciding that the press is mean and fake (wonder where he came up with THAT?) Dunleavy has decided that he’s now going to just deliver the real news to the people directly from the government. That’s how it’s supposed to work…

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Governor’s Appointments – Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy/Babcock administration The Governor’s appointments and how they went down   THUMBS UP/THUMBS DOWN Well, that was a whopper. The governor’s appointees to commissioner positions and to boards and commissions were up for confirmation yesterday, and the joint floor session with members of the House and Senate took 7 hours and 48 minutes to wind up. At the end, all of the governor’s picks for Commissioner positions (even the most controversial) were passed with a majority of votes, but 6 appointees to the many boards and commissions in the state were rejected. And…

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Primary Post Mortem

Alaska’s primary election night is over, but the election itself is not quite done. About 14,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted, and the final results will not be known for days. That said, it will be a tough hill to climb for the passage of Ballot Measure 1, which would reinstate the ACES oil tax system put in place by former Governor Sarah Palin and a bipartisan coalition in the Alaska legislature. Sean Parnell, former ConocoPhillips lawyer and lobbyist, and Palin’s former Lt. Governor dismantled ACES with Senate Bill 21 which would give billions from Alaska’s treasury to the…

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Election Central Live Blog

9:15pm Ok, Mudflatters… I’m martinied (is that a word) up, and here at Election Central. There’s a decent crowd and the first returns are coming in. I’ll report on the Republican Senate race and Prop 1, and anything else that is a surprise. Right now, the first numbers have come up on the big board: Sullivan – 39% Miller – 33% Treadwell – 23% Prop 1 Yes 50.01 No 49.9 Miller has a better showing than people expected. But, he did that last time. A 6 point margin can be made up in the remaining precincts. Prop 1 is an…

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Critical Oil Tax Debate Wednesday!

As we wind up to the primary and general election, Alaska Common Ground is sponsoring a must-attend series of forum discussions on four ballot measures. The first in the series is coming up, so clear your evening Wednesday night and see both sides discuss the upcoming oil tax referendum – Ballot Measure 1 (SB21). Forum on the Oil Tax Referendum (SB 21) Wednesday, July 23, 7-9 pm Wilda Marston Theatre, Loussac Library Moderator Gunnar Knapp is Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at University of Alaska Anchorage and a Professor of Economics at UAA. He has…

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Social Media Wins & Fails of AK Politicos

ANCHORAGE, AK— There are two types of Facebook stati: those providing the reader with value of some sort—informational, cautionary, or even just escapist entertainment value—and those benefitting only the writer: appeals for sympathy or money, self-congratulatory piety, boastful one-upsmanship, you know all the flavors. The second type is never in short supply, but here are three examples of effective social media use by public officials which—while of benefit to constituents and the public, indeed for that very reason—will also pay dividends when the candidate makes an ask around campaign time. The Feedback Loop Fairbanks Rep. Scott Kawasaki’s approach highlights an…

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Parnell Stacks the Deck for Oil. Again.

The muck-raking writer Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” He wrote that after running for governor in 1934. It would seem the business of politics was even more messy than the meat packing industry he exposed. I’d go a bit further than Sinclair. It’s difficult for someone to continue getting a salary if he does understand some things and still acts on them. It’s a bit of a long story, but I’ll give you the skinny. Most of us are familiar with the…

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