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Lawmakers propose resolution pushing back on refuge proposal

Jan 28, 2015 -- 4:30pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska political leaders remain riled up about President Barack Obama's plans to recommend that the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be put off limits to potential oil and gas drilling. A resolution was introduced in the state House, calling on Congress to reject any proposal "that does not explicitly and, without delay" open the coastal plain for development. Obama has said he'll recommend designating much of the refuge as wilderness, including the coastal plain. That's the highest level of protection. State political leaders see it as an example of federal overreach that they say would limit Alaska's ability to develop its resources. Congress will have to weigh in. State lawmakers urged Alaskans to use the hashtag "ThisIsOurAlaska" to bring attention to the issue on social media.

Marijuana criminal bills put on hold for rewrite

Jan 28, 2015 -- 4:15pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Bills to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana have been put on hold while lawmakers wait for a new draft that better reflects the voter intent. Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux says the companion bills, intended to legalize one ounce or less of marijuana for adults 21 and older, are being rewritten. The bills had raised concerns from marijuana legalization supporters and the state's public defender agency, who said that the method used to decriminalize the drug didn't match what the voters asked for in November. Amy Saltzman, a legislative staff member working on the bill, said lawmakers still want to pass a bill by Feb. 24. That's when the marijuana initiative is set to take effect.

Plan to allow Shell oil drilling fleet in Seattle draws ire

Jan 28, 2015 -- 1:15pm
- SEATTLE (AP) - A plan to allow Royal Dutch Shell PLC to use Seattle's waterfront as a homeport for its Arctic drilling fleet is drawing opposition from environmental groups. Several state and national groups are urging the Port of Seattle to halt lease negotiations that would allow Shell to use 50 acres of port property across from downtown Seattle. Shell would house drill rigs, ice-breakers and other vessels in the winter when it's not exploring for oil off Alaska's coast. Port commissioners this month approved moving forward with a short-term lease with Foss Maritime, whose clients include Shell. Port officials and Foss say the project would generate good-paying jobs, revenues and local and state tax dollars. But environmentalists said at a news conference Wednesday that there was little environmental review or time for public input. They also say it's not consistent with the city's environmental goals.

Anchorage police release name of 2nd shooting victim

Jan 28, 2015 -- 1:00pm
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Anchorage police have released the name of the second victim of a fatal shooting at an eastside apartment. Police say 23-year-old Krystal Elizabeth Hawk died at a local hospital after the early Tuesday morning shooting. Another victim, 27-year-old Christian Haynes, died at the scene of the shooting at the East 41st Court complex. Police say no one has been arrested in connection with the shooting of the couple.

State to appeal court decision in school funding case

Jan 28, 2015 -- 12:45pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The state plans to appeal a court ruling that invalidated a requirement that local school districts help pay for education. The Department of Law, in a release, also said the state will request a stay of the ruling. It says that would ensure municipalities continue contributing until the case is decided by the Alaska Supreme Court or the school funding system is changed by the Legislature, another option. A judge in November found the contribution was a dedicated fund, violating a state constitutional provision. The lawsuit was filed by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Attorney General Craig Richards says Alaska has a history of local governments, the state and federal aid contributing to education. He says the state believes in the constitutionality of a system of shared support and local control.

Official shares ideas for marijuana regulations in Alaska

Jan 27, 2015 -- 12:30pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The head of the board currently in charge of writing regulations for the legalized use of recreational pot in Alaska says rules on edibles, advertising and extraction methods should be part of the conversation. Cindy Franklin is executive director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control board. She presented ideas for new regulations during a Tuesday Senate committee hearing, primarily centered around public safety concerns and keeping marijuana away from minors. Voters in November approved an issue under which recreational marijuana becomes legal Feb. 24. The state then has nine months to write regulations. Sen. Lesil McGuire has said she plans to introduce a bill creating a marijuana control board to develop regulations. Representatives from several state departments and the Alaska Mental Health Trust also participated in the hearing.
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