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Southeast Alaska News
As a strong wind howled down 4th Street downtown, many of the legislators they intended to honor were ensconced inside the Alaska State Capitol, deliberating over the state operating budget in a lengthy floor session.
But the students were undeterred.
High school students from across Alaska gathered in Dimond Courthouse Plaza to barbecue salmon and hand out awards for legislators Thursday at noon, whether they were there or not.
Listen to iFriendly audio.
Sitka Film Society director Shannon Haugland and local filmmaker Van Hanson discuss this year’s 48-Hour Film Festival. Filmmakers will have 2 days to write, produce, direct, and screen their work. Participants can sign up this Friday, 5-7 PM at 713 Sawmill Creek Road, and return their finished product on Sunday.
A bill crafted to address outbreaks of invasive aquatic species in Sitka and other locations around the state moved ahead in the Alaska House of Representatives Wednesday, although allocations included in the bill for temporary state employee positions were stripped out.
A bill by Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, that would place a $100 bounty on sea otters harvested legally in Alaska attracted vocal support in a Senate Resources Committee hearing Wednesday, despite Stedman’s admission that the bill as drafted appears to be unenforceable under federal law.
Stedman introduced Senate Bill 60 last month, calling it an effort to slow the booming population growth among sea otters in Southeast Alaska.
JUNEAU — The Alaska House passed a $9.8 billion state operating budget Thursday, following hours of debate.
The proposal is about $100 million less than Gov. Sean Parnell proposed. It passed 29-8, with Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins the lone minority Democrat to support the bill.
The minority led a number of failed efforts to amend the bill, including to add additional money for education. The proposals were similar to those that Democrats proposed when the House Finance Committee considered the measure.
A major Southeast Alaska environmental organization has endorsed the latest Sealaska land-selection legislation. But a group of communities on or near Prince of Wales Island continues to strongly oppose the measure.
The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council opposed the Sealaska bill from the start.
It negotiated with the regional Native corporation, but actively lobbied against the measure in Southeast and Washington, D.C., as well as online.
Now, it’s endorsed revised legislation proposed by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.
“This wasn’t an easy decision,” says Buck Lindekugel, a SEACC attorney who’s been active in timber issues.
“We tried to be realistic about our chances of stopping the bill or the opportunities available to continue to try to influence decision-makers as the bill moves forward,” he says.
Murkowski’s bill would transfer about 70,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest to Sealaska ownership.
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act required the corporation to choose property from within boxes surrounding communities with large numbers of shareholders.
Murkowski’s bill allows selections from other parts of the Tongass.
“We’ve also got to remember that Sealaska has received 290,000 acres already around the villages. And those lands have been heavily hammered,” he says.
SEACC wants further changes to the bill, such as dropping added acreage at Calder, on northwest Prince of Wales Island.
But Lindekugel says the new measure removes some very sensitive watersheds.
“It drops nearly 30,000 acres of incredibly productive lands on north Prince of Wales from selection. And it dropped another 4,000 acres of high-value karst lands on Kosciusko Island,” he says.
While SEACC changed its stand, others did not.
Nine Tongass communities near the proposed selections are actively opposing Murkowski’s new bill. (Read a letter critiquing the bill.)
“Greetings from your neighbors on north Prince of Wales Island. We, the residents of Point Baker and Port Protection, are asking you to join our voices in opposition to the latest Sealaska lands bill,” says one of the residents of the towns’ residents on a radio commentary. (Hear or read the full commentary.)
Point Baker’s Andrea Hernandez says the people in the recording speak as a group and didn’t want to put names to specific statements. She did provide a list of those who spoke.
The commentary points to Sealaska’s agreement to a Native claims settlement act amendment limiting selections to areas around Native villages. And they say they’ve built their lives and communities around the guarantee that they’ll be able to hunt, fish and log on nearby Tongass lands.
“Now the corporation wants to exchange the land from their designated areas to areas around our towns. How fair is this?”
They particularly oppose a provision transferring additional land from part of the northwest coast.
“Calder Creek is a highly productive salmon stream. And some of the highest volume of old-growth left on the north end of Prince of Wales Island is on Calder Bay. Sealaska will most assuredly clear-cut every last bit of it, leaving the entire watershed bare, with inadequate protection to the streams,” another voice on the commentary says.
Thorne Bay, Hollis, Naukati, Whale Pass, Kupreanof, Edna Bay and Cape Pole are the other communities in the group of nine.
Sealaska says the legislation has undergone many changes since it was first proposed in 2007. (Hear or read an earlier report on the bill.)
“We can prove that we’ve listened to people and that we’ve been able to go in and make changes that try to remove the rough edges off this bill,” says Vice President Rick Harris.
He says the latest version reflects most critics’ concerns: ”Nobody’s going to be happy with every aspect of it. But if you go compare what we could select inside the boxes versus this selection we think we end up with a much better result.” (Link to Sealaska’s statement on the new bill.)
“We see it as a bill that would just make a lot of rich people within Sealaska richer,” says Dominic Salvato, a shareholder living in Anchorage. He runs Sealaska Shareholders Underground, a Facebook page with 800 “likes” that’s critical of the corporation.
He says past practice shows the corporation is not environmentally responsible.
“It’s a man-made tsunami that went through Kake and went through Hoonah, and it’s just promising to be more of the same. It’s got to stop somewhere. The Tongass has given enough,” he says.
Salvato says shareholders will not get much of a benefit from land selections or timber operations.
“They’re looking at the land like, ‘How can we convert it to cash?’ They don’t look at it for its beauty and scenery. They’re looking at it for how they can convert it to long-term … bonuses for executives,” he says.
Other Native activists support the bill.
Richard Peterson is president of the tribal government of Kasaan, a Haida village on Prince of Wales Island.
“Sealaska has so far been good stewards and they’ve been coming and meeting with our community and working with us and engaging us in that process. So it’s a deal that needs to be closed,” Peterson says.
Murkowski’s land selection bill has not yet been heard by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where she’s the ranking Republican member.
Spokesman Robert Dillon says this is about as good as it’s going to get.
“We believe that we’ve addressed the majority of their legitimate concerns and we would hope that would take a hard look at that. Because the land selections have got to be finalized one way or another. And as SEACC pointed out, this bill is better than letting them select out of their original boxes,” he says.
The Alaska Forest Association, an industry group, supports the bill, though it says the measure has undergone too many changes.
The U.S. Forest Service has not taken a formal position. The agency was critical of earlier bills.
A similar measure with fewer compromises was introduced in the House by Representative Don Young. While his measure passed the House last year, most involved say the Senate bill is the most likely to get attention.
A revised version of Sealaska Lands Legislation is back before Congress.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced the new bill, known as S.340. A similar measure has been introduced into the House by Congressman Don Young (H.R. 740).
S. 340 replaces legislation from two years ago which came under immediate fire from environmentalists, Southeast communities, and even some Sealaska shareholders who claimed it overstepped the intent of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act — known as ANCSA.
Sealaska vice-president Rick Harris was in Sitka Wednesday to outline the new bill.
Listen to iFriendly audio.
S.340 is still about expanding the timber base of Sealaska, whose primary business as a regional Native corporation has been timber harvest.
Rick Harris was up front about that in his presentation to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce.
“The eight large parcels are mostly selected for timber purposes. About 69,000 acres. Of that, about 39,000 is mature timber — old growth timber. Another 22,000 is second growth.”
Sealaska is the largest private land owner in Southeast, with 290,000 acres. That the corporation is entitled to select another 70,000 acres has never been in dispute.
Harris told the Chamber that some of the land available for selection under the 1971 ANCSA withdrawals simply wasn’t practical.
“Those boxes include places like the entire Situk River corridor, which is one of the premiere salmon and steelhead in northern Southeast Alaska, up near Yakutat. We can select the Craig municipal watershed. We have some high sockeye-producing streams that are not really the kind of properties that belong in Sealaska’s ownership. They really do need to belong in public ownership.”
The challenge — and Harris was also candid about this — is finding 70,000 acres in Southeast Alaska that everyone can agree on.
“We’re not making everyone happy. I don’t want anyone to think that we’re making everyone happy.”
Calder Creek is a highly-productive salmon stream, and some of the highest-volume old growth left on northern Prince of Wales Island is in Calder Bay.
This is an excerpt of a commentary broadcast on both KFSK Petersburg and KCAW Sitka, written collectively by residents of Point Baker.
Sealaska will most assuredly cut every last bit of it, leaving the entire watershed bare, with inadequate protection for the streams.”
The commentary was delivered to radio stations with a page including 23 signatures of area residents.
Eight of the nine large parcels selected by Sealaska in the revised lands bill are in the same areas as in the previous bill. Most of the selections have been scaled down; the Calder Creek selection, however, has nearly doubled to almost 7,000 acres.
Pt. Baker, and other communities affected by selections had major conservation organizations at their back two years ago. One of the region’s largest, the Southeast Conservation Council, announced last week that it supported the new bill. In a blog by SEACC’s forest program director Bob Claus he writes, “Given the considerable changes offered to address the concerns of various communities and interests, in our judgment Senator Murkowski has offered a responsible approach to resolving this long-running legislative controversy.”
In an interview following his Chamber presentation, Harris said Sealaska is happy that SEACC saw the benefits in the new bill.
“We can prove that we’ve listened to people, and that we’ve been able to go in and make changes that try to remove the rough edges off this bill. But, as I say, nobody’s going to be happy with every aspect of it.”
Closer to Sitka, S.340 has some significant changes. Smaller land selections — known as “futures” sites — for possible economic development in Big Bay, Sinitsin Cove, and Deep Bay are removed. Instead, Sealaska has selected cultural and sacred sites: Kalinin Bay Village, Deep Bay Village, and Fick Cove Village.
Harris said there would be no logging or other development in these areas.
“These sites are for cultural purposes, to do cultural research, cultural education. For kids to be able to go to sites like this and to understand how their ancestors lived.”
Sealaska Lands legislation has been introduced into every Congress since 2007. Harris wouldn’t speculate on its chance of passage this time, but he called arriving at a compromise with the Forest Service and environmental organizations was “a major milestone.”
The opinions expressed in commentaries on Raven Radio are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by the station’s board, staff, or volunteers. To publish a commentary on KCAW, please contact us using the tab at the top of this page.
Greetings from your neighbors on North Prince of Wales Island. We, the residents of Point Baker and Port Protection are asking you to join our voices in opposition to the latest Sealaska Lands Bill, S. 340, introduced recently by Senator Murkowski.
Listen to iFriendly audio.
This is the fourth time Sealaska Inc. has attempted to pass special interest legislation which would rewrite the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) giving them title to 18 parcels of public land, totaling about 70,000 acres. This land will not be located around Native villages where it was required to be taken under ANCSA, but around our towns. And that is not fair. Most of the land in this bill has been selected for its timber value, but there are also 9 special interest areas and a number of cultural sites, yet to be specified, scattered throughout the Tongass.
We have opposed this legislation for eight years along with people across the political spectrum including residents of nine affected communities such as ours, hunters, guides, sportsmen, fishing and environmental groups, subsistence users, and concerned citizens, Natives and non-Native alike.
Our immediate concern, and hopefully yours, is what will become of nearby Calder Bay if this bill were to pass. Sealaska would gain ownership of the entire Calder Creek watershed, approximately 6,700 acres. Whatever happens there will directly affect us. Our communities have tried to protect as much of this critically important deer migration corridor as possible over many years.
Calder Creek is a highly productive salmon stream, and some of the highest volume old growth left on the north end of POW is in Calder Bay. Sealaska will most assuredly clearcut every last bit of it, leaving the entire watershed bare with inadequate protections to the stream. More road access with the associated hunters, and the resulting second-growth will not fill the freezers of our local hunters. More degraded wild salmon habitat will just add to gradual decline of our wild stocks, underscoring the insincerity of our politicians who tout our sustainable salmon runs, yet fail to legislate to protect them.
It is not fair Sealaska is looking to move from around their towns to get the very best and biggest timber around Calder; we view it as money in the bank as it is. They view it as a fast buck. Leaving the habitat intact is our investment for our future and for our kids.
Those of us who realize the impacts of what will be lost, if this legislation passes, MUST SPEAK OUT. If we won’t, who will?
We have written letters to Senators expressing our opposition to the bill, recorded commentary, testified at hearings, and traveled to Washington DC to voice our concerns. We want Congress to know how important every remaining stand of old growth on North Prince of Wales is. Despite our opposition and the opposition of so many others, Sealaska and our Congressmen continue to push this legislation. Why?
Sealaska agreed to the 1976 ANCSA amendment 37 years ago, requiring their land selections be taken around Native villages, within designated areas, or boxes. Now the corporation wants to exchange that land from around their towns to around our towns. How is this fair? Are we, and you, to be penalized by Sealaska‘s destructive logging practices? Passing this bill would be a great injustice.
We are expected to be satisfied with the compromises that have been made in this new version of the bill, but why would we support any compromise when we, and you, only stand to lose, whether it be a little or a lot? Especially considering that no legislation is necessary to fulfill the obligations of ANCSA to the corporation. The remaining land that Sealaska was authorized to select under the terms of ANCSA is available to them now, and simply requires Sealaska to make an official request from the Bureau of Land Management. In fact, Sealaska has requested these lands, which are “in the boxes”, in a 2008 letter to the BLM. All that is necessary is for the BLM to finalize that request.
For decades, we have invested our time, energy, and money in this corner of the world. We value its remoteness, its wildness, its beauty, its abundant resources, whether fish, game, or timber for our small local mills. We have a way of life, familiar to most Alaskans, where we are less insulated from nature and more aware of our dependence upon it for our food and livelihoods.
Maintaining this way of life has required us to actively participate in the management of the forest around us. We have always had a voice, because the National forest land is ours and yours; it is and should remain public land. We never considered our investments and our way of life could be threatened by our congressional representatives.
In addition to S. 340, Senator Murkowski has recently introduced another smaller, bill,S. 14, with the rationale of granting Sealaska a smaller amount of timber, also outside the boxes, until a more “comprehensive” solution can be devised. We oppose both bills.
If there are places in the Tongass that you care deeply about, then you will understand why we are asking you to help us retain a voice in protecting this special place.
Please add your voice to ours by emailing or writing Senator Murkowski and the other Senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and say that NO congressional legislation is needed to finalize the Sealaska Corporation land entitlements. You can find the bills and associated maps here.
Note: This commentary was signed by twenty-three residents of Point Baker and Port Protection. View the signature page.
At the 5th Annual Wearable Arts Show, Sitka artists showcased their original pieces, from a gown made of moss to a dress crafted from colorful duct tape. Here is a look at some of the night’s flashy fashion. (Click on the image to see a full-size slideshow with captions.)
Alaska’s Board of Game this weekend will consider controversial wolf trapping programs for two areas of Southeast Alaska in an attempt to boost deer numbers.
The proposals would create state-sponsored trapping programs to reduce or eliminate wolves on Gravina Island near Ketchikan along with the Mitkof and Kupreanof Island shorelines near Petersburg.
The state is proposing to pay one or two experienced trappers to trap wolves along the state-owned tidelands of the two areas. The four or five-year trapping programs each could cost over 300-thousand dollars.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologists do not know if the trapping will successfully boost deer numbers. Other factors blamed for deer number declines are snowy winters, loss of habitat from logging and predation by black bears.
Fish and game does not have precise estimates of the wolves living in the two areas. However, based on population research from elsewhere in Southeast, the department thinks eight to 12 wolves live on Gravina Island. The state is proposing to kill that entire population and keep the island free of wolves for four or five years.
Near Petersburg, trapping would happen on Mitkof Island, Woewodski Island and the eastern portion of Kupreanof. The department’s target would be to trap 80 percent of the wolves in that area, or 50 wolves. Deer populations in the proposed wolf trapping areas would be compared to nearby areas without predator control to see if the programs are successful.
Deer are an important food source for hunters in Southeast Alaska and there’s been support among Southeast hunters for reducing wolf numbers. But it’s not a popular idea elsewhere. Comments from around the globe opposing the wolf trapping programs were submitted to the board.
Two groups, Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity, have petitioned for protection of Southeast wolves under the Endangered Species Act, arguing the region’s wolves are at risk of extinction. Fish and Game’s trapping plans says killing wolves in the two areas are not expected to create a conservation concern for wolf numbers overall in Southeast.
Operational plans for the trapping drafted by Fish and Game are posted on the Board of Game’s website. The public can listen to the meeting on that site as well.
The board meets March 15-17 in Kenai.
On Sitka Sports this week: The NCAA Tournament Preview – guests Bob Potrzuski and Jeremy Strong join host Mike Viera to break down the college basketball season and look ahead towards the upcoming NCAA tournament. Airing at 10am, Saturday, March 16th on KCAW.
Library Show host Sarah Bell welcomes Garden Show host Mollie & Kitty in an interview with local gardener/author Lori Adams. They will discuss her new book about growing vegetables in Sitka, which is a compilation of her articles for the Sitka Sentinel. Airing Saturday at 5:30pm.
Host Carolyn Servid will interview poet Sierra Golden, the Island Institute’s writer-in-residence, on Raven Anthology this week — They will discuss her poetry as well as sample poems here and there. Tune in Sunday, March 17th at 1:30pm.
KRBD is offering local photographers, professional and amateur, an opportunity to showcase their pictures, and maybe win a bag of Raven’s Brew coffee! To submit recent photos of local scenery, people or events, just send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the photographer’s full name, where and when the photo was taken.
Each week, the photo with the most “likes” on KRBD’s Facebook page will win a bag of Raven’s Brew coffee.
A bill rewarding sea otter hunters was praised and panned at its first hearing on Wednesday.
The measure proposes paying $100 per otter. Only Alaska Natives can legally harvest the protected marine mammals. And federal rules limit processing and sales.
The sponsor is Bert Stedman, a Sitka Republican whose district includes Southeast’s outer coast. He wore an otter pelt on his shoulders as he came before the Senate Resources Committee, saying a bounty would slow rapid population growth.
Craig Mayor Dennis Watson, a former commercial diver, says he’s watched as otters moved in — and his catch disappeared.
“For 16 years I stared into a viewer as my partner and myself drug an underwater camera along the bottom of the ocean surveying for sea cucumbers. Through that, I have witnessed first-hand the devastation these creates cause while their numbers grew,” he says.
Scientists estimate the Southeast otter population at around 21,000. Research shows 12 percent annual growth in the southern part of the region, and 4 percent in the north. Other coastal areas, such as Kachemak Bay near Homer, have also seen large increases.
Joe Sebastian, a commercial fisherman from Kupreanof, near Petersburg, says overharvesting is likely the cause of shellfish declines.
He says the bill wrongly blames otters.
“I find it unprofessional, unscientific, racist and culturally destructive. This particular bill, in its present form, is not the way to go and would start the new sea otter gold rush with little or no oversight or scientific direction,” he says.
Bill sponsor Stedman admits the measure conflicts with federal marine mammal protection rules. He says if a bounty isn’t legal, the state could subsidize tanneries to help build the otter-products industry.
He stressed that the bill would not exterminate otters. He says about 850 were killed last year and an increase to about 2,100 would not significantly damage the population.
Former commercial diver Julie Decker of Wrangell agrees.
“Otters are a renewable resource. They can contribute to the economy of Southeast. However, if they are protected and the population allowed to grow at the rate it is growing now, they will destroy all the shellfish resources,” he says.
The committee delayed further testimony until Friday afternoon.
The debate over potential cuts to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District’s budget continued Wednesday. Board Members pushed back against claims from the Borough Assembly that misinformation about the budget was spread to the community, and School Board members encouraged citizens to continue attending Assembly meetings to have their voices heard.
While formal discussion of the issue was not on Wednesday’s agenda, Board members spent a substantial portion of time expressing frustration with the Borough Assembly over potential cuts to the district’s budget.
Board President Ginny Clay noted that during a recent School Board/Borough Assembly Liaison Committee meeting, members of the Borough Assembly “chided” the Board for rallying members of the community to attend Assembly meetings and voice opposition to the cuts.
The public turned out in droves to the March 4 Assembly meeting, filling the chambers and taking up a significant portion of the time slated for public input. Assembly members protested the nature of the public commentary, saying there had been misinformation in the remarks.
On Wednesday, School Board Member David Timmerman pushed back against the Assembly, saying that issues pertaining to the School District deserved ample hearing in front of the Assembly.
“I just want this board to stick by their guns,” he said. “If you give information, make sure it’s the right information, and I think people are. We shouldn’t be chastised, we shouldn’t be chided, we shouldn’t be looked at as the drunken sailor by any Assembly members anymore.”
Board Member Colleen Scanlonagreed with Timmerman. She urged members of the community to continue their push against the Assembly.
“I am gonna say this publically – I encourage the public to continue to attend Borough Assembly meetings and continue to give the message that you support full funding for schools,” she said. “Our kids are our human capital, they are our future, and they deserve to be given the best education that we can give.”
Superintendent Robert Boyle addressed a potential method for using reserve funds held by the district to help plug the budget gap. He noted that due to frequent and unexpected expenses incurred by the School District, it was “bad management” to use those reserve funds to replace cuts from the borough.
Boyle estimated that the reserve funds held by the School Board stand at $900,000,, but it subject to change at any time. The expected cut to the School District budget from the borough is an estimated $600,000.
The School Board also voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve more than $94,000 to upgrade Ketchikan High School’s wireless Internet network.
Also on the agenda Wednesday was discussion surrounding state-mandated teacher evaluations. Due to changes made to that initial legislation, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District will incorporate student performance into those evaluations. In his report to the Board, Superintendent Boyle pledged that goals will be set to monitor student performance through standardized testing, the Response to Intervention program and special services support. The performance component of teacher evaluations will begin in two years.
The next Ketchikan School Board meeting is March 27.
The Department of Natural Resources has listed 472 parcels of land available for sale through the state’s annual sealed-bid auction, which starts March 20.
This year’s offering includes parcels ranging from Southeast Alaska coastline to Interior river corridors. Some lots are on the road system or close to communities; while others are in remote, rural locations.
Ten parcels are on Prince of Wales Island, in the Whale Pass and Clark Bay areas. Other Southeast Alaska parcels are listed near Petersburg and in Freshwater Bay southwest of Juneau.
Sealed bids from Alaska residents will be accepted March 20 through July 10. Brochures describing the parcels and how to participate in the auction are available at www.dnr.alaska.gov. Go to the “Online Services” tab and scroll down to “Purchase Land.”
Under “Current Land Offerings” is the Auction 472 Online Brochure.
Rotary’s District Governor for Alaska and the Yukon, Peggy Pollen, and the Assistant Southeast District Governor Chris Letterman are in Ketchikan meeting with the local groups and planning for the upcoming district convention. The convention is being held in Ketchikan May 9th through 12th. Local Rotarian Michelle O’Brien also tells us about some ongoing activities. Rotary031413
Ketchikan School Board member Dave Timmerman gives an update on Wednesday night’s meeting. SB031413
The initial cost estimate for a new Petersburg police station is much higher than officials had hoped. The borough’s architecture firm has put the total project price at just over nine million dollars. That would include design, permits, site work, construction, inspection, furnishings and contingencies.
According to Borough Manager Steve Giesbrecht, the assembly and design committee members had mixed opinions on what the building should cost but in general, he says, they were hoping it would be in the five to seven million dollar range.
Giesbrecht says Architect Wayne Jensen will talk about it with the Assembly Monday during a regular meeting Monday night:
“We’ve invited the design team to come in as well and they’re going to basically present this to the assembly and talk about what…..the alternatives are. I get a sense, from some of assembly members I’ve spoken to, that this is way too high and that we’re going to have to dramatically cut it and that’s a question the assembly’s going to have to answer…..Do they feel this is an acceptable price and we should move forward or do we need to go back to the drawing board? And I think there’s both opinions on the assembly and at least among the design team. So, we’re probably looking at some healthy discussion on Monday.”
The legislature, last year, gave Petersburg 350 thousand dollars for design work on the facility but the borough has not yet secured any construction funding. There was one-point-four million dollars in state money left over from the firehall project. The assembly is asking lawmakers to allow it to be used for the police station instead.
Petersburg’s representative in the Alaska House took advantage of a lull in the 90-day legislative session to make another visit to the community, new to her district this session. Juneau democratic representative Beth Kerttula visited Petersburg last week while other members of the state legislature met with the oil and gas industry in the nation’s capital. Kerttula is serving again as house minority leader and is part of a 10-person minority caucus. She’s introduced seven bills so far this session and is co-sponsor on more than two dozen other bills and resolutions. Joe Viechnicki spoke with Kerttula about the first half of the session.
For iFriendly audio, click here:
With a little over a month to go in the 90-day session, legislators have introduced 241 bills in the first session of the 28th Alaska legislature and more than three dozen resolutions. As of the second week in March, five of the 241 bills have passed both the House and Senate. Those are a bill changing commercial motor vehicle licensing requirements, another marking March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Day, the change in cruise ship waste water requirements, a bill eliminating references in state law to “mental retardation” and a bill allowing for longer terms for directors of telephone and electrical cooperatives.