Republican House Speaker Mike Chenault acknowledged for the first time Thursday that because he'll need votes from Independent Democratic Caucus members to use Constitutional Budget Reserve funds, those lawmakers will have leverage in budget negotiations.Pat Forgey
Here's a roundup of the latest news from the Alaska Legislature. On Thursday, the conflict between Gov. Bill Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature intensified as the Senate moved to disregard an order from Walker to hold confirmation votes on Friday.
Gov. Bill Walker faces a Saturday deadline to act on his pledge to veto a gas line bill hurriedly approved by the Alaska Legislature to allow for an override vote before the session ends, a divide that stems from a deep disagreement about how best to deal with the three largest oil companies in Alaska.Dermot Cole
The Alaska teachers union is criticizing Gov. Bill Walker for not appointing people with classroom experience in public schools to the state education board. Walker said his two nominees are strong candidates.Nathaniel Herz
Alaskans from every region of the state support expansion of Medicaid, said pollster Ivan Moore, putting new pressure on legislators who oppose expansion and say they are reflecting their constituents' views.Pat Forgey
Efforts to remove barriers for relatives or tribal members hoping to adopt Alaska Native foster children are a move toward stronger state-tribal relations and signal a willingness by the Walker administration to seek solutions to long-running court disputes. Alex DeMarban
There's nothing simple about the Medicaid bills working through the Alaska Legislature this year, but both Gov. Bill Walker and his opponents are proposing reforms for the state and federally funded health-care program even as they debate whether it should be expanded.Nathaniel Herz
A Republican lawmaker with a bill to create a personal income tax has now turned his attention to oil companies. Rep. Paul Seaton of Homer said he hopes the measures will help the state close its multibillion-dollar shortfall.Alex DeMarban