James Brooks

Alaska House votes to boost access to birth control

After three years of work, the Alaska House of Representatives on Monday voted 21-17 to approve a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe up to a year’s worth of birth control on a single script. Currently, doctors may prescribe only three months of contraceptives. The bill also requires health insurers to cover birth control, including devices such as IUDs and implants.

Ballot Measure 1 would allow residents to register to vote when they apply for PFD

Ballot Measure 1
would allow residents
to register to vote when they apply for PFD

 

Ballot Measure 1 is the sole voter intiative on this fall’s general-election ballot. If approved by voters Nov. 8, Ballot Measure 1 would allow Alaskans to register to vote when they apply for their PFD each year. Formally, the measure allows the Alaska Division of Elections and the Permanent Fund Dividend Division to share information.

Cheaper loans for students idea behind measure 2

State Sen. Anna MacKinnon of Eagle River has tried for more than four years to make student loans cheaper. That effort will now be decided by voters on Tuesday.

If enacted, Ballot Measure 2 would amend Alaska’s Constitution so the state could borrow money on behalf of the Alaska Student Loan Corporation.

Alaska has a better credit rating than the corporation, and at present scores, according to figures provided to the Alaska Legislature earlier this year, that strategy could lower the interest on student loans by 0.97 percent.

Legislature starts fifth special session with no clear path forward

The 29th Alaska Legislature on Monday began its fifth special session since the gavel first sounded in January 2015, but lawmakers appear uncertain on their path forward and unsure even what the next few days will bring.

Gov. Bill Walker called the special session in an attempt to balance the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit. On the agenda is a measure passed by the Senate during the fourth special session to use some of the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund for state services. The measure died in the House Finance Committee without reaching a vote of the full House.

Legislature adjourns; Walker calls fifth special session

It’s over, but not done.

At 11:46 a.m. Sunday, the Alaska Senate adjourned the fourth special session of the 29th Alaska Legislature.

Forty minutes later, Gov. Bill Walker issued a proclamation stating that the fifth special session will begin on July 11. On its agenda will be three items: Using the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund to pay for government operations, reforms to the state’s system of oil and gas drilling subsidies, and a suite of tax increases.

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