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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

What You Can Do About SB21

The Republican-dominated Senate just voted to give Alaska’s future away. So, what are you going to do now? Disneyland? Wrong answer. The savings that Alaska has accrued from it’s oil tax revenue will now go straight into the pockets of the most profitable corporations in the history of the world. We have no guarantees of any increased oil production, jobs, or exploration. History tells us we won’t get any of it. For a summary of what happened, with quotes and video clips of important moments, click HERE. Nine senators (7 Democrats and 2 Republicans) stood up for you, and withstood…

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Senate Votes to Give Big Oil Billions

Here’s your highlight reel from the Senate oil tax debate. Late Wednesday night the Alaska State Senate voted 11-9 to give billions from the state treasury to the oil industry. A 10-10 vote would have killed the bill. Amendments and debate took all day, and went well into the night. The bottom line is that the senate voted to give away the farm, in exchange for nothing. No increased promise of production, exploration, or jobs. It might incentivize them to do something though. Magically. If we’re lucky. That’s the argument of the 11 Senators who voted for this historically bad…

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GOP’s Slash & Burn Values

“Family values.” It’s something we hear a lot around election season from the Republican Party. It’s code for “queers are bad and ladies are baby ovens.” It has nothing to do with healthy families. Case in point: This past week, the Republicans in the Alaska House of Representatives, on some sort of “look-how-fiscally-conservative-we-are” display, slashed and burned the state operating budget. The hypocrisy of their campaign stances comes into pure light when you see how they are spending our money. Pre-kindergarten education was slashed, as was funding for Best Beginnings early education and the Parents as Teachers program. A two-year…

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Congress, Meet Tongass

  By Geoff Mueller Washington D.C., rife with politicians and paved with legislative hurdles, is a far cry from the Alaska backcountry. But that hasn’t stopped Juneau-based flyfishing guide Matt Boline from ditching his waders, donning a suit, and entering the melée. Earlier this week Boline traveled to the nation’s capital as part of a commercial and sport fishermen delegation pressing Congress to enact stronger protections for salmon and trout in the country’s largest national forest. The Tongass National Forest is located in southeast Alaska, home to one of the world’s largest and healthiest wild salmon fisheries. Currently, 65% of…

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Murkowski Disingenuous Says NARF

Natalie Landreth is a senior staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in Anchorage, Alaska. Founded in 1970, NARF is the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide.     By Natalie Landreth Last Thursday, March 7, President Obama signed into law the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Nationwide, many celebrated the new provisions allowing tribal governments to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual assault. It was a long overdue fix for a jurisdictional loophole. Absent from the press coverage…

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Begich to Reintroduce Safe Villages Act

In the wake of revelations about specific amendments added by Sen. Lisa Murkowski to the Violence Against Women Act, passed by Congress last week, Senator Mark Begich will seek to reintroduce a relevant bill. His legislation would remove inequities that leave Alaska Native women vulnerable and unable to pursue justice for domestic violence and sexual assault cases on the same measure as tribal women in the Lower 48 states, who can legally address these issues in tribal court when the offender is non-Native. Natalie Landreth, an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund explains: “We are tired of the separate…

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Murkowski Responds to Accusations

Sunday afternoon Senator Lisa Murkowski borrowed a move from Sarah Palin and responded on her Facebook page to an article I wrote yesterday which first appeared in The Anchorage Daily News, and on The Mudflats. “It’s incredibly important to clear up the confusion created by Shannyn Moore’s piece today — and I want Alaskans to hear it directly from me. The amendment she misconstrued focused on tribal jurisdiction over non-Natives who are accused of domestic or sexual assault on reservation land. Of Alaska’s 229 federally-recognized tribes, Alaska only has one reservation: Metlakatla. My amendment was introduced to spell out in…

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Murkowski Excludes Native Women from Protection

President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act this week. Finally, something bipartisan passed! American women are better protected from coast to coast — but all the way up north? Left out in the cold. First, you should know a few facts. Native American and Alaska Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other American women. The vastness of Alaska works against victims here. We have about 140 villages with no state law enforcement. Gov. Sean Parnell believes he can get some help to them in the next 10 years. In the meantime,…

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Good News for Chuitna Salmon

I present to you, in the middle of chaos and frustration… (drum roll please)… a small victory! In a decision issued February 25, 2013, the Alaska Superior Court ruled that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) violated its own rules by denying Alaskans’ their right to keep water in streams to protect wild salmon runs. The decision in Chuitna Citizens Coalition vs. Dan Sullivan, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, takes on special importance as the Alaska legislature considers bills introduced by Governor Parnell (HB 77/SB 26) which will strip Alaskans of their right to protect “instream flows,” which are…

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Sen. Backpedals About Alaska’s Dimwit Voters

There’s backpedaling, and then there’s Backpedaling. Sen. Lesil McGuire (R), my friends, is a double-down Backpedaler. It’s actually quite impressive. It’s almost… what’s the word I’m looking for… “Palinesque.” With the current legislature out of touch with actual Alaskans on so many issues, it’s a skill the majority of Republicans are going to have to master. House Majority Leader Lance Pruitt, and Speaker of the House Mike Chenault have already backpedaled to varying degrees that they laughed out loud at the thought of legal same-sex partnerships, despite the fact 70% of Alaskans think it should happen. This time it’s about…

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