These truly are unprecedented times. The impacts of COVID-19 on Alaska’s health and economy are far reaching and uncertainty seems to be the only constant. Further, we find ourselves in uncharted territory as the price of oil hovers around $10 per barrel.
“He took advantage of the situation and the moment,” said Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, an Anchorage Democrat.
Alaskans who found themselves suddenly out of work because of shutdowns over the coronavirus were buoyed by news last week that lawmakers had proposed paying a $1,000 stimulus check to residents. But the stimulus check was removed from the compromise version of the budget advanced by House and Senate negotiators, leaving some lawmakers upset.
State legislators have approved granting advanced practice registered nurses and physician’s assistants authority to prescribe psychotropic medication without consent to patients in court-ordered inpatient care during a crisis situation.
Legislators have approved a bill boosting the cost of Pioneer Home rates that cannot exceed the annual Social Security cost of living adjustment, while raising the amount of income residents may keep for incidental and personal expenses.
The Alaska House failed to get sufficient support Wednesday, March 18 to fully fund legislation that includes additional aid to help the state respond to coronavirus concerns.
Legislators trying to balance the need for public access with the critical issue of passing a budget are now limiting access to the state capitol while the public participates via written and telephonic testimony.
The Alaska House voted March 5 to remove Republican Rep. David Eastman from his committee assignments, at least temporarily, suggesting a breaking point within his GOP caucus after recent dust-ups.
Tribal commercial and sport fishing entities are raising concerns over proposed legislation that they contend would make a political football out of Alaskans’ ability to protect pristine waterways critical to world class salmon runs and the subsistence way of life.
Legislation boosting tax rates on road and marine motor fuels to 16 cents and 10 cents respectively passed the Alaska Senate by a vote of 12-5 on Monday, March 2, and moved to the House for consideration.