AJC Web

Senators call for cannabis clarity

Whether or not a fear of federal marijuana crackdown is justified or overblown, Congress isn’t happy with the White House.

Only days after remarking that “we don’t need to be legalizing marijuana,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions has evidently assured Congressional Republicans including legalization supporter Sen. Rand Paul that the Department of Justice will support states rights, according to Politico.

Marijuana Control Board rules on CBD oils

Regulators ruled on Alaska's CBD seizures on Feb. 17, maintaining that the products are indeed marijuana, not hemp, and therefore under control of the Marijuana Control Board. The seized CBD products will not be destroyed, but rather the board will retain them until a hemp legalization bill moves through the Legislature. The owners of the shops from which they were seized will not be disciplined. 

Eklutna, muni settle gas dispute for $5.75 million

Eklutna Inc. and the Municipality of Anchorage have agreed to settle a dispute over millions of dollars claimed by the Native corporation for natural gas generated at the Anchorage Landfill and sold to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Marijuana board chair gathers signatures for borough ban

The recently elected chairman of Marijuana Control Board, Peter Mlynarik, is a registered signature gatherer for a Kenai Peninsula Borough petition that would put a commercial cannabis prohibition ballot initiative onto the borough’s 2016 ballot.

Senate approves federal check bill for marijuana licenses

The Senate approved a bill on April 22 that would allow the state to request federal background checks for marijuana license applicants.

The bill’s main focus revises alcohol regulations to streamline enforcement, a measure in review since 2012.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, also changes statutory language to allow the Department of Public Safety to request federal background checks for commercial marijuana license applicants.

Marijuana, tobacco public smoking ban passes Senate

A bill that would ban onsite marijuana consumption passed the Senate on March 30, before a House companion bill has a hearing in the Health and Social Services Committee.

In public comment and in Senate testimony and debate over the legislation aimed at tobacco products, none of the public or senators addressed its affect on state marijuana industry regulations.

Both Senate Bill 1 and its House companion, House Bill 328, come from American Cancer Society pressure to ban smoking statewide, rather than Alaska’s current local control system.

State projects $2B investment loss

Not surprisingly, Alaska’s fiscal picture got worse with the March 21 release of the 2016 Spring Revenue Forecast.

Total state revenue for the 2016 fiscal year, which ends June 30, is now projected to be about $3.6 billion, down more than 60 percent from the $9.5 billion of income estimated in the Fall 2015 Revenue Forecast released last December.

The fall outlook for investment revenue had the state taking in $3.8 billion in fiscal year 2016, while the spring forecast expects the Fund to take a loss of just more than $2 billion for the year.

Army officially delays plan to slash Arctic Warrior force level

The U.S. Army has officially announced that it will delay the proposed reduction of 2,600 “Arctic Warriors” stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Army officials first announced plans to cut 2,600 soldiers from the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division, also known as the 4-25, last July as part of an Army-wide cut of 40,000 troops.

Alaska’s congressional delegation and state political leadership hailed the delay as a win for national security. The full division stationed in Alaska is about 4,000 troops.

Cultivation dominates marijuana applicants

The first batch of marijuana business licenses is available to the public, and so far Alaskans have more interest in growing than selling.

The Marijuana Control Board began accepting license applications on Feb. 24, but only made them available to the public March 14. Public figures from various marijuana industry and political groups have filed, including members of the Marijuana Control Board itself and the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association.

After record price year, construction loans and permits dip

Editor's note: this article has been updated to reflect that the current 2016 average home sale price only includes January and February, which are historically the lowest priced months of the year. 

Alaska housing prices peaked in 2015 – and according to statistics, so did homeowners’ willingness to pay them.

With layoffs on the North Slope and a precarious fiscal situation for the state government, homeowners in Anchorage appear less willing to fund new residential construction projects than in 2015.

Analysis finds buying Anchorage LIO close to moving cost

An independent review of the Legislative Council’s options to deal with the Anchorage Legislative Information Office building found the cost of purchasing the building to be nearly on par with moving the Legislature’s Anchorage offices elsewhere.

San Francisco-based Navigant Consulting Director Nigel Hughes concluded in a report dated March 14 that purchasing the Anchorage LIO would cost 4 percent more, on a per square-foot present value basis, than moving to the nearby Downtown Atwood Building, which houses state executive branch agencies.

No bonds means bare-bones capital budget

With little appetite from legislators for a general obligation bond package, bare bones capital budgets the next couple years are probably a harsh reality of the state’s fiscal situation.

The administration’s proposal for a $500 million general obligation, or GO, bond package to fund up to $250 million of capital appropriations in each of the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years received, seemed possible, if not likely, to pass the Legislature based on reactions when the idea was first offered by Gov. Bill Walker in December.

Bills propose adding legislators to AGDC board of directors

JUNEAU (AP) — Two Republican lawmakers want to add legislative oversight to the board of an organization that plays a key role in Alaska’s natural gas pipeline project development.

Both Sen. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, and House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, have proposed adding two non-voting lawmakers to the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. The state-owned gasline corporation holds the state’s 25 percent interest in the Alaska LNG Project.

The Senate was expected to consider Costello’s bill on March 23.

Supreme Court overturns appeals court in Sturgeon case

The U.S. Supreme Court on March 22 overturned a National Park Service ban on the use of hovercraft by a moose hunter within a national preserve in Alaska, but in a narrowly focused ruling, sent the case back to a lower court for additional consideration.

Board of Fisheries hopefuls, legislators playing nice in 2016

The 2016 Board of Fisheries appointees represent no one, and everyone, they insist.

2015 and 2016 took a toll on fisheries leadership. The last 12 months include one botched interview, one forced resignation, three failed nominations – including one denied by the Walker Administration – a fistful of felony charges, and two recent resignations – one of which chairman Tom Kluberton said comes from political burnout and stress, the other, Bob Mumford, coming before he even had the chance to be confirmed by the Legislature. 

GUEST COMMENTARY: Sustainable budget doesn’t require onerous taxes, PFD cuts

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly just passed a resolution asking the Legislature to implement a sustainable budget. I voted against it since it specifically asked for taxes, and those aren’t helpful or necessary for the present situation.

During the testimony it was shown that there were a lot of misconceptions about our state budget situation, so I wanted to clarify some of the details.

FISH FACTOR: Economist: Many factors involved in retail salmon prices

If a fisherman gets 50 cents a pound for his reds, how can the fish fetch $10, $15 or more at retail counters?

“It’s all the other stuff that happens after he sells the fish. A lot of costs, margins and profits are included in that retail price,” said Andy Wink, a fisheries economist with the McDowell Group in Juneau.

It’s an “apples and oranges” comparison when it comes to using weights paid for the raw goods and the end product. A lot of weight is lost going from a whole fish, which fishermen are paid on, to a fillet at retail counters.

Enstar, Furie seal gas deal through April ‘21

Enstar Natural Gas Co. appears to have locked up 90 percent of its gas supply needs into 2021 after finalizing a deal with Furie Operating Alaska.

The gas supply and purchase agreement filed March 14 with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska is for a firm supply of 6.2 billion cubic feet, or bcf, of natural gas per year from April 2018 through March 2021.

Committee bill cuts Cook Inlet credits, not much more

Legislators began putting their imprints on Gov. Bill Walker’s oil and gas tax credit overhaul with the first committee version of the legislation released March 19.

The House Resources Committee substitute of House Bill 247 is a mild version of the original bill; it gradually reduces the value of credits companies could claim for capital expenses, but does not address the minimum production tax rate or “tax floor.”

Hawaii Air Force unit getting own power grid that uses trash

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AP) — The Air Force unit that defends Hawaii skies will get experimental energy technology that uses trash to generate power and relies on its own small electrical grid — a system intended to keep the unit operating if a bomb, cyberattack or natural disaster knocks out the local utility.

The Air Force Research Laboratory is spending $6.8 million on a facility that will produce electricity for the Hawaii Air National Guard unit that flies F-22s, the nation’s most advanced fighter jet.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - AJC Web