More than 12,000 state residents who applied or attempted to recertify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, are still awaiting for their benefits to be processed months later.
A 7.2 magnitude earthquake off of the coast triggered a tsunami warning that created confusion, traffic jams and evacuations despite the alert later being canceled. Some worry the inefficient system could erode public trust.
The state Senate passed a bill that would allocate millions more for public school funding annually, sending the legislation to the House for review with less than one week before the end of session.
The state’s Office of Public Advocacy is required to provide guardianship services for vulnerable adults, but recent turnover has increased workloads to approximately 1,600 cases per staff member. The agency wants it down to 60 each.
Advocates of the bill say that it would empower parents to take charge in their kids’ education and limit the exposure to objectionable content, while critics say it would allow discrimination against kids.
The Alaska budget attempts to address some of the state’s crises, such as the public defender shortage and a backlog of Medicaid and SNAP benefits applications, but the $400 million deficit is millions more than estimated.
The Alaska governor introduced two bills that would create a regulatory framework for geologic storage of carbon dioxide and for selling carbon offset credits, and could earn billions for the state. Many details are still unclear.
The bills and five proposed constitutional amendments cover a range of topics, including establishing Filipino American History Month, blocking low-level marijuana conviction records from public view and repealing ranked-choice voting.
A report from the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development found that, for the last seven years, the state has performed “at or near the bottom” in employment growth, unemployment, net migration and GDP.
“Final four voting” ensures that party primary voters aren’t the bosses anymore, changing incentives for campaigning and governing and knocking down barriers to compromise and cooperation.
Observers flagged several problems at rural polling places regarding adequate accommodations for Native language speakers that could disenfranchise minority voters and might violate the Voting Rights Act.
The state alleges both the Republican Governors Association and A Stronger Alaska, an independent expenditure group funded by the RGA, are illegally spending money to support Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s re-election.
A legislative audit of the state’s $290 million program found that the distribution rate of the funds was slower than predicted and a random sampling of grants found that 39 percent had at least one error while 13 percent were unallowable.
State officials hope to get a large chunk of the more than $65 billion that is available to improve broadband access across the nation through the infrastructure bill that was approved last year.
The bill signed into law on Thursday, July 28, allows that sexual assault can be considered a crime without physical force or threats, and reduces the maximum time allowed for rape kit processing.