Articles & Op-eds

06.30.19

Anchorage Daily News: US attorney general declares emergency for public safety in rural Alaska, freeing up $10.5 million to support police

by Alex DeMarban

U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr declared an emergency for public safety in rural Alaska on Friday and announced that the Department of Justice will provide more than $10 million in emergency funds as part of a sweeping plan to support law enforcement in Alaska Native villages. The department's Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Program will immediately provide $6 million to the state to hire, equip and train rural police, and for mobile holding cells. Another $4.5 million will s… Continue Reading


06.28.19

Associated Press: US Senate panel takes up what to do with nuclear waste

It's been more than a decade since the US government was supposed to begin moving spent nuclear fuel that has been piling up at dozens of commercial reactors around the country to a repository in the Nevada desert. The Obama administration halted development of a proposed long-term storage site at Yucca Mountain and the federal government is no closer to finding a solution to what to do with the high-level waste. Resistance is strong in Nevada and temporary storage options in New Mexico and Tex… Continue Reading


06.26.19

Modern Healthcare: Senate health committee may change surprise billing proposals ahead of floor vote

by Susannah Luthi

The Senate health committee approved its major healthcare package on Wednesday, but with one change to the proposed ban on surprise medical billing and potentially more to come ahead of a full Senate vote expected later this month. As it stands, the provision on surprise medical bills would cap out-of-network physician or hospital charges at a rate already negotiated by insurers. An amendment to that provision came from Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and would make insurers post all the physician an… Continue Reading


06.26.19

Saipan Tribune: A thousand new residents

by Jon Perez

President Donald J. Trump yesterday signed H.R. 559 into law, saving the immigration status and livelihood of 1,039 individuals who have worked in the CNMI for decades and call the islands their second home. H.R. 559, or the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act, provides a legal remedy for the 1,039 long-term humanitarian parolees and their families-people who are under the categorical parole program and those holding employment authorization documents-by granting them … Continue Reading


06.26.19

Alaska Lawmakers, Industry Tell Democrats to Stand Down

by Brian Dabbs

House Democrats are taking aim at key industries in The Last Frontier. The House passed a minibus spending bill this week that includes a controversial provision to require national minimum bids for oil and gas development in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And Democrats pushed through, on a largely partisan basis, language to ban public funds from being used to build logging roads in the nation's largest national forest, a 17-million-acre expanse in southern Alaska called Tongass, a… Continue Reading


06.26.19

Lake County News: Garamendi’s World War II Merchant Marine Congressional Gold Medal Act heads for House vote

Congressman John Garamendi (CA-3), announced that his bipartisan Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019 has secured the 290 cosponsors necessary to receive a mandatory vote in the House of Representatives. The bill will move to the Consensus Calendar, which hosts legislation that's typically passed unanimously by the House. "Throughout the Second World War, our armed forces relied on the Merchant Marine to ferry supplies, cargo and personnel into both theaters o… Continue Reading


06.25.19

Juneau Empire: OP-ED: Sen. Dan Sullivan: Pressing the Canadian government to take action on transboundary mining

by Senator Dan Sullivan

The Taku, Stikine and Unuk are world-class transboundary rivers that originate in Northwest British Columbia (B.C.) and flow into Southeast Alaska. These iconic rivers and their watersheds are central to our fishing industry as well as tourism in Southeast. Importantly, they've also been centers of culture for thousands of years. It's imperative for our economy and our people that these waters stay pristine for generations to come. Virtually all of the U.S. portions of these watersheds have the… Continue Reading


06.24.19

The Daily Sentinel: OPINION: America's energy, tech and defense future needs more metals, minerals

by John Adams

As the recent trade war with China has escalated, Beijing has implied that it may retaliate by withholding rare earth minerals. Such a strategic vulnerability - and America's alarmingly high reliance on imported minerals and metals - is now in the spotlight for all the world to see. China's rare earth threat underscores just how perilous U.S. mineral import reliance has become. While rare earths are currently the focus, America's overall reliance on imports of these minerals is indicative of a … Continue Reading


06.24.19

Saipan Tribune: HR 559 goes to Trump

by Jon Perez

The fate of a thousand individuals in the CNMI now rests in the hands of President Donald J. Trump. A total of 1,038 categorical parolees and employment authorization document holders are anxiously waiting for Trump's signature on a bill that would give them legal CNMI-only permanent resident status. The bill, H.R. 559, is now at the White House and must be signed by Trump on or before June 29, 2019. If not, these individuals, along with their families, will have to leave the CNMI after U.S. … Continue Reading


06.22.19

KTVA: Murkowski bill would let more low-income Alaskan kids get free summer meals

by Angela Krenzien

Alaska's senior senator announced a bill Friday that would give more low-income children access free meals during the summer. According to a release from Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office, the Summer Meals Act of 2019 would make changes to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Summer Food Service Program, which, during the summers, works with public and nonprofit groups to provide meals to kids under 18 who receive free or reduced lunches during the school year. "This bill would allow more children … Continue Reading


06.22.19

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: OPINION: Stop trying to take away critical care in Alaska

by Rina Kowalski

While the country debates the morality of bodily autonomy and works to eradicate access to reproductive care, including abortion, I want my community to know how fundamental a full range of reproductive health care is to me and my family. When I was 19 years old, I had two children and was living off welfare assistance programs because we could barely afford the basic necessities we needed to survive. As a Medicaid recipient, I was fortunate enough to have access to health care services through… Continue Reading


06.21.19

WHNT: Rape Kits: Many cities don’t have them; new proposed legislation hopes to change that

by Shevaun Bryan

In 2014, Leah Griffin of Seattle says she was raped and went to the closest hospital for a rape kit, only to be turned away. "They looked at me and shrugged their shoulders and said, 'We don't do rape kits here,'" Griffin recounted. Griffin says she later went to a second hospital that did administer the special examination to collect and preserve forensic evidence, but because of the delay in care, her case was never prosecuted. There are many places around the country where access to rape ki… Continue Reading


06.21.19

Christian Science Monitor: Senate's push for Native American safety a bipartisan effort

by Mary Hudetz

Lawmakers pressed the Trump administration Wednesday to respond with urgency in addressing violence against Native American women and children after they say two officials arrived at a key U.S. Senate hearing unprepared to take concrete positions on proposed legislation. The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held the hearing in Washington to review a slate of bipartisan bills aimed at stemming domestic violence, homicides, and disappearances on tribal lands. The hearing followed recent p… Continue Reading


06.21.19

Utility Drive: Bipartisan bill targets federal nuke PPA by 2024, advanced reactor demos by 2025

by HJ Mai

Dive Brief: House members on Tuesday introduced bipartisan legislation to encourage further development of advanced nuclear energy programs. Key parts of the bill include developing at least two advanced nuclear reactor demonstration projects by Dec. 31, 2025; creating a nationwide strategy for nuclear science and engineering research and development; and revising federal contracting regulations. The bill extends the maximum length of federal power purchase agreements (PPAs) from 10 to 40 y… Continue Reading


06.21.19

Marianas Variety: Kilili: HR 559 passes Senate; parolees fate now with president

U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan's legislation providing permanent status for as many as 1,039 individuals, living in the Marianas under humanitarian parole, passed the Senate on Thursday afternoon. The bill, H.R. 559, now goes to the White House for the President's signature. If the President signs Sablan's legislation before June 29, parolees, who have lived lawfully in the Marianas since 2009, will be able to continue to live and work in the islands. Otherwise, the parolees, in… Continue Reading


06.20.19

KTVF: Dept. of the Interior distributes $30 million to local Alaskan governments through the P.I.L.T. program

Local governments throughout Alaska will be receiving more than $30 million dollars through the 'Payments in Lieu of Taxes' or 'PILT' program. The program provides payments to local governments throughout Alaska that contain federal lands which are not subject to state or local taxation. According to a press release from Senator Lisa Murkowski's office, the revenue helps these communities with construction of public schools, roads, firefighting, police protection, and search and rescue operatio… Continue Reading


06.20.19

KTVF: Indian Affairs Committee considers law enforcement & public safety bills

New law enforcement and public safety bills are being considered in the US Senate. According to a statement released by Senator Murkowski, the Senate Indian Affairs committee held a legislative hearing on bills to address the epidemic of missing, murdered, and trafficked Indigenous women and focus on improving public safety and justice systems. Bills, such as the 'Savanna's Act' and the 'Not Invisible Act' will combat the epidemic of murdered and missing Native women and girls by improving the… Continue Reading


06.20.19

KTVA: Sen. Lisa Murkowski votes to provide $4B for US southern border crisis

by Shayne Nuesca

Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted, along with nearly the entire Senate Appropriations Committee, to provide $4.6 billion in supplemental funding for the crisis at the southern U.S. border. In a statement dated Wednesday, Murkowski's office says the bill addresses the growing number of migrants arriving at the border. The funding will go toward supporting immigration judge teams, medical care, clothing and essential needs for migrants. The funding will also provide safety and welfare needs of migrant c… Continue Reading


06.20.19

Associated Press: Alaska Congress members ask to tap relief funds for seafood

Alaska's congressional delegation said the state's fishermen and seafood processors should be included in a federal trade war relief package, a report said. Lawmakers asked the Trump administration to give its seafood industry access to $15 billion earmarked for farmers, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday. "Unjustified retaliatory" tariffs are eroding Alaska seafood's market share in China, U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young said in a June 11 letter. The de… Continue Reading


06.20.19

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Murkowski, Sullivan support tougher PFAS standards

by Erin McGroarty

Both of Alaska's U.S senators have voiced support for an amendment to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that would advise the Environmental Protection Agency to step up its PFAS contaminant testing and treatment standards. PFAS, known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a category of human-made chemicals that repel water and grease and are found in products such as nonstick pans and raincoats. Much of the contamination in Alaska is caused by firefighting foams used at airports… Continue Reading

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