August 17, 2020 •

Three Names Forwarded to Alaska Governor for Vacant Legislative Seat

Governor Mike Dunleavy

Governor Mike Dunleavy - by The Alaska Landmine

Out of six applicants, three names were forwarded to Gov. Mike Dunleavy to fill the District 30 seat until a new legislator is sworn in in January. The district currently lacks representation since the untimely passing of Rep. Gary Knopp […]

Out of six applicants, three names were forwarded to Gov. Mike Dunleavy to fill the District 30 seat until a new legislator is sworn in in January.

The district currently lacks representation since the untimely passing of Rep. Gary Knopp in a July midair plane collision.

The three chosen by the District 30 committee are Ron Gillham, Derek Leichliter, and Charlene Tautfest.

Gillham is a candidate for the seat and his name is already on the ballot for the primary election.

When a vacancy occurs, the governor typically will choose from the three names the district leaders of the party offer.

In this case, the governor may not appoint a fill-in person, but would need to appoint one if he calls a special session for the purpose of legislative confirmation of his boards and commissions picks.

His choice would have to be ratified by Republicans in the House.

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June 15, 2020 •

Alaska Supreme Court Approves Election Reform Ballot Measure

Alaska State Capitol Buildling - Jay Galvin

The Alaska Supreme Court unanimously ruled an election reform initiative can appear on the November Ballot. The court upheld a lower court decision confirming the legality of a proposed ballot measure. This will be imposing ranked choice voting, nonpartisan primary […]

The Alaska Supreme Court unanimously ruled an election reform initiative can appear on the November Ballot.

The court upheld a lower court decision confirming the legality of a proposed ballot measure.

This will be imposing ranked choice voting, nonpartisan primary elections, and tough new rules on campaign finance disclosure.

In August of 2019, Attorney General Kevin Clarkson released an opinion stating the election reform initiative was unconstitutional under the single subject rule.

On his advice, the Division of Elections attempted to block the Better Elections committee from gathering signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

However, Superior Court Judge Yvonne Lamoureux ruled Clarkson’s analysis was incorrect.

Additionally she ordered the state to issue signature booklets and continue the certification process as the state appealed to the Supreme Court.

If approved by voters, the ballot measure would require additional reporting requirements for large donations to political campaigns.

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May 21, 2020 •

Alaska Legislature Adjourns Sine Die

Governor Mike Dunleavy

Governor Mike Dunleavy - by The Alaska Landmine

The Alaska Legislature adjourned after approving Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s plan to spend over $1 billion in federal coronavirus funding. Lawmakers were spurred by a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the plans Gov. Dunleavy submitted to the Legislative Budget and Audit […]

The Alaska Legislature adjourned after approving Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s plan to spend over $1 billion in federal coronavirus funding.

Lawmakers were spurred by a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the plans Gov. Dunleavy submitted to the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.

They were submitted through a process allowing a governor to submit plans to accept and spend additional federal or other program funds on a budget item.

In addition, the committee agreed to more than $1 billion in plans despite concerns some of the items fell outside the scope of what can go through the committee process.

Following the vote, the Legislature adjourned the 2020 regular session, though members of the House and Senate have said a special session may be needed later in the year.

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March 25, 2020 •

Alaska Shifts to Mail-In Primary Due to COVID-19

Alaska State Capitol Buildling - Jay Galvin

On Monday, Alaska became one of the most recent states to alter presidential primary plans due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Alaska Democratic Party canceled in-person voting in the state scheduled for April 4. Additionally the party expanded the ability to […]

On Monday, Alaska became one of the most recent states to alter presidential primary plans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Alaska Democratic Party canceled in-person voting in the state scheduled for April 4.

Additionally the party expanded the ability to vote by mail by extending the deadline to mail in ballots from March 24 to April 10.

The Alaska Republican Party also announced its Republican state convention, scheduled for April 2-4 will convene electronically.

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March 18, 2020 •

Alaska Governor Declares Public Health State of Emergency

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Gov. Mike Dunleavy declared a public health disaster emergency in the state. People are encouraged to practice social distancing and avoid large crowds if possible, especially if they are elderly or have underlying health conditions. Access to the Capitol is […]

Gov. Mike Dunleavy declared a public health disaster emergency in the state.

People are encouraged to practice social distancing and avoid large crowds if possible, especially if they are elderly or have underlying health conditions.

Access to the Capitol is limited to lawmakers, employees of the Legislature, members of the governor’s administration, and credentialed journalists.

Lawmakers voted to approve $4.1 million of funding to respond to the coronavirus.

The regular session will adjourn if five or more legislators contract the virus.

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March 18, 2020 •

Alaska Public Offices Commission Limited Office Closure

Alaska State Capitol Buildling - Jay Galvin

The offices of the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) will be closed to walk-in traffic until further notice. This comes in recognition of state and federal calls for social distancing and to protect the public and its employees. APOC offices […]

The offices of the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) will be closed to walk-in traffic until further notice.

This comes in recognition of state and federal calls for social distancing and to protect the public and its employees.

APOC offices will remain staffed and continue to serve the public and respond through alternative forms of contact including mail, email, fax, and telephone, during its normal business hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.

This does not affect lobbyist reporting.

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February 17, 2020 •

Alaska Supreme Court Allows Recall Dunleavy to Begin Gathering Signatures

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

The Alaska Supreme Court issued an order allowing the campaign to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy to begin collecting signatures. The decision reverses a lower court ruling pausing signature gathering and putting the case on an extremely speedy schedule by the […]

The Alaska Supreme Court issued an order allowing the campaign to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy to begin collecting signatures.

The decision reverses a lower court ruling pausing signature gathering and putting the case on an extremely speedy schedule by the standards of the court.

Oral arguments over the legality of the recall will be held on March 25.

The Division of Elections will begin printing petition booklets for Recall Dunleavy to collect the required 71, 252 signatures.

If the Supreme Court rules the recall campaign legal, any election would take place 60 to 90 days after the Division of Elections confirms enough signatures have been gathered.

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January 30, 2020 •

Judge Places Recall Dunleavy Signature Gathering on Hold

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

A superior court judge has delayed signature gathering for a campaign seeking to remove Gov. Mike Dunleavy from office. Judge Eric Aarseth issued a stay halting Recall Dunleavy from advancing its efforts, pending a decision from the Alaska Supreme Court. […]

A superior court judge has delayed signature gathering for a campaign seeking to remove Gov. Mike Dunleavy from office.

Judge Eric Aarseth issued a stay halting Recall Dunleavy from advancing its efforts, pending a decision from the Alaska Supreme Court.

The judge previously overruled a state Division of Elections decision rejecting the recall application.

Last week, there was some confusion over a stay, when the stay was issued and revoked a day later due to an error in the court system.

Although the ruling halts the recall campaign from moving forward with collecting signatures, both parties agreed to an expedited appeal.

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January 14, 2020 •

Anchorage Judge Allows Effort to Recall Alaska Governor to Proceed

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth reversed the Division of Election’s rejection of the Recall Dunleavy campaign application. The Division of Elections rejected a bid to advance the recall effort based on an opinion from Attorney General Kevin Clarkson. Clarkson […]

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth reversed the Division of Election’s rejection of the Recall Dunleavy campaign application.

The Division of Elections rejected a bid to advance the recall effort based on an opinion from Attorney General Kevin Clarkson.

Clarkson found the reasons listed for the recall were factually and legally deficient.

The Recall Dunleavy group argued that Clarkson’s analysis was overreaching and the recall effort should be allowed to move to a second signature-gathering phase.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration stated it will appeal the decision to the Alaska Supreme Court.

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November 26, 2019 •

Supreme Court Questions Alaska Contribution Limit

U.S. Supreme Court Building

United States Supreme Court Building

The U.S. Supreme Court is raising doubts about Alaska’s $500-a-year limit on contributions to political candidates. The justices are ordering a lower court to take a new look at the issue. The court says in an unsigned opinion on Monday […]

The U.S. Supreme Court is raising doubts about Alaska’s $500-a-year limit on contributions to political candidates.

The justices are ordering a lower court to take a new look at the issue.

The court says in an unsigned opinion on Monday that federal judges who rejected a challenge to the contribution cap did not take into account a 2006 high court ruling.

The 2006 ruling invalidated low-dollar limits on political contributions in Vermont.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a separate opinion expressing that Alaska’s reliance on the energy industry may make the state unusually vulnerable to political corruption and justify the low limits.

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November 21, 2019 •

Alaska Governor Chooses Candidate to Fill Vacant House Seat

Alaska State Capitol Buildling - Jay Galvin

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced that Melvin Gillis has been selected to fill the vacant South Anchorage state House of Representatives District 25 seat. The seat became vacant when Josh Revak was confirmed to the Senate seat that was held by […]

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced that Melvin Gillis has been selected to fill the vacant South Anchorage state House of Representatives District 25 seat.

The seat became vacant when Josh Revak was confirmed to the Senate seat that was held by Sen. Chris Birch, who passed away in August.

Gillis was one of three candidates picked by local party officials.

House Republicans will have to approve the appointment.

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November 8, 2019 •

Alaska Division of Elections Rejects Recall Petition for Governor

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

The Alaska Division of Elections declined to certify a petition to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy from office, citing a legal opinion by the state attorney general. The Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson issued the opinion finding the petitioners gathered enough […]

The Alaska Division of Elections declined to certify a petition to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy from office, citing a legal opinion by the state attorney general.

The Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson issued the opinion finding the petitioners gathered enough signatures, paid the appropriate fees and did the technical work correctly.

However, the four allegations against the governor fail to meet any of the listed grounds for recall that include neglect of duty, incompetence, and lack of fitness.

Over 49,000 signatures were gathered in little over a month because of discontent with the governor’s decision to veto more than $400 million from the state operating budget.

The petitioners intend to file an appeal in the Anchorage Superior Court.

If the recall petition is upheld in court, backers need to collect 71,252 verified signatures to trigger a special election.

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November 7, 2019 •

Alaska Judge Orders Campaign Contribution Limits Be Reinstated for Independent Groups

Judge William F. Morse - AP Photo/Mark Thiessen

In a historic ruling, the nonprofit group Equal Citizens obtained a judicial ruling that, for the first time since Citizens United, could restore limits on donations to independent groups and Super PACs. Anchorage Superior Court Judge William F. Morse ordered […]

In a historic ruling, the nonprofit group Equal Citizens obtained a judicial ruling that, for the first time since Citizens United, could restore limits on donations to independent groups and Super PACs.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge William F. Morse ordered the state to impose limits on donations to political groups in Alaska.

Morse said that the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC), which handles election enforcement, should reinstate enforcement of the annual per person $500 contribution limit to independent expenditure groups.

In Alaska, independent expenditure groups function like Super PACs. Groups can advocate and raise money for a candidate while remaining unaffiliated with the candidate.

Attorneys for the Alaska Department of Law, appearing on behalf of APOC, appealed the case to the Alaska Supreme Court.

The hope for Equal Citizens is the case makes its way to the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify aspects of Citizens United and how limits are enforced on contributions made to political groups.

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November 7, 2019 •

Alaska Senate Republicans Confirm State Representative for Vacant Senate Seat

Rep. Josh Revak - Loren Holmes / ADN

The Alaska Senate Republicans voted to confirm Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s choice to fill a vacant seat in the chamber. Rep. Josh Revak was appointed to the South Anchorage state Senate seat vacated by the passing of Chris Birch. The appointment […]

The Alaska Senate Republicans voted to confirm Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s choice to fill a vacant seat in the chamber.

Rep. Josh Revak was appointed to the South Anchorage state Senate seat vacated by the passing of Chris Birch.

The appointment created a vacancy in the South Anchorage state House of Representatives seat.

District 25 Republicans are expected to create a list of nominees for Gov. Dunleavy to make a selection to fill the vacancy.

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