FISH FACTOR: After rebound, halibut harvests may drop again

It’s going to be a tough year for many Alaska fishermen.

Following on the heels of announcements of a massive drop in cod stocks, the industry learned last week that Pacific halibut catches are likely to drop by 20 percent next year, and the declines could continue for several years.

That could bring the coastwide catch, meaning from Oregon to British Columbia to the Bering Sea, to about 31 million pounds for 2018.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Time is now for AK LNG

Mid-June 1970: one of the most important days in my life. It rained, as I waited in-line outside a trailer in Johnson’s Trailer Court in Valdez to receive my first dispatch. That day, I received my first dispatch ticket from Laborer’s 341 business agent Jim Robinson to begin work on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

Tax hike for cruise industry dropped amid Alaska concerns

The cruise industry has dodged a tax increase after Alaska's U.S. senators helped strike the provision from the tax bill that passed the Senate.

The bill approved early Saturday includes other provisions that Alaska Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan hailed as significant for Alaskans, including allowing oil and gas drilling on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Murkowski called the package "a critical milestone in our efforts to secure Alaska's future."

Lower claim costs lead to large reimbursement

Alaska received a reimbursement check for $25 million from the lone company offering insurance on the individual market after lower-than-expected claim costs in 2017.

The payment to the Alaska Reinsurance Program, or ARP, came as part of a memorandum of understanding between the Alaska Division of Insurance and Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield. The company offered to make the reimbursement after finding that health insurance claims filed by Alaska customers in 2017 were trending at a 10-year low, according to Premera spokeswoman Melanie Coons.

Marijuana board rejects rule aimed at lease agreements

A measure that would have prohibited marijuana businesses from making agreements with their landlords to pay part of their revenue as rent was rejected by the Marijuana Control Board on Nov. 27 after a surge of public protests.

The board voted 3-2 against the proposed new regulation. Chairman Peter Mlynarik and board member Loren Jones voted to change the law, which would have required landlords to pass criminal background checks and be named on the business license if they accepted profits in exchange for rent.

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