Matt Acuña Buxton Profile picture
There are strange things done 'neath the midnight sun. Journalist @Midnight_Sun_ak. #akleg dork. GBR. Newsletterer: https://t.co/bVmG1rWW0j matt@midnightsunak.com
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Sep 28 90 tweets 16 min read
It's #akleg day, baby! The Legislative Budget and Audit Committee is underway with a hearing on the results of the investigation into the abrupt firing of Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation CEO Angela Rodell last year.

📺: w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play… Image As @AK_OK pointed out, the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation ran its own counter investigation into the investigation that says it's all fine BUT it does note efforts by individuals in Gov. Dunleavy's office to rein in Rodell's social media use.

Feb 10 69 tweets 17 min read
The House Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee is underway with its Oath Keepers Informational hearing. They're hosting the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism and George Washington University's Program on Extremism.

#akleg

w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play… Not exactly the best-attended hearing so far. None of the Republicans—who've so far voted in defense of Rep. David Eastman, a member of the Oath Keepers—are present currently.
Feb 9 22 tweets 7 min read
Some after-the-credits action in the House, Rep. Hopkins moves that the Sense of the House be adopted. There's a flurry of objections from Republicans so a pretty good guess about what it's about.

#akleg

Watch: w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play… Rep. Kurka says it's "clearly engaging in personalities."

Followed by an at-ease.
Feb 9 18 tweets 4 min read
The 2022 Alaska State of the Judiciary is underway. Delivering his first State of the State is Chief Justice Daniel Winfree. He notes it may be his last given the age limits for the Alaska Supreme Court.

w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play…

#akleg Winfree: I was one of the young ones 50 years ago criticizing the establishment and now I'm part of the establishment. I find myself wondering why we haven't made more progress.
Feb 9 10 tweets 3 min read
The House floor is underway. Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson was in the gallery. Also Reps. Eastman and Kurka introduced a move-the-capitol-to-Willow bill that got tagged with three committees of referral.

#akleg

w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play… First on the legislation agenda is Rep. Zulkosky's HB198, establishing Sept. 10 as Alaska Community Health Aide Appreciation Day. As introduction, she's talking about the importance of health aides provide care throughout the state.
Feb 9 16 tweets 3 min read
Today's the State of the Judiciary at 11 a.m.

But first, the House Education Committee is holding a hearing with the free/reduced tuition for essential workers bill. It's set to gavel out for the House floor session at 10 and resume at 330.

w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play…

#akleg SB10 by Sen. Tom Begich passed out of the Senate last year on a 12-7 vote. He starts off by noting that the bill needs to be updated since it was written for last year.

He says providing these opportunities could be "potentially life-changing" for frontline workers.
Feb 8 18 tweets 5 min read
Over in the Senate floor, they're working through amendments on Senate Bill 9. It's Senate President Peter Micciche's long-delayed alcohol law rewrite.

👀: w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play…

📄: akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Det…

#akleg Amendment 1 was by Sen. Kiehl. It would've loosened the strict population limits the bill would place on tasting rooms (effectively closing many markets to any new entrants) but he says in the interest of trying to get this bill—which was first introduced in 2015—he withdraws it. Image
Feb 8 28 tweets 5 min read
The trial over the Higher Education Investment Fund is underway. The case was brought by several University of Alaska students challenging Gov. Dunleavy's sweep of the fund set up by the #akleg to fund scholarships (and later WWAMI).

The main argument here, as I understand, is the original appropriation setting up the fund is still valid and therefore it's out of reach out of the constitutional budget reserve sweep.

Dunleavy argues it should be funded ad hoc each year, competing with other spending.
Jan 25 127 tweets 21 min read
Day three of the Alaska Redistricting Board trial is underway. Today, they're getting into the Valdez witnesses today. If they get through Valdez, they'll start with intervenor (Doyon, Limited group) witnesses.

#akleg #akredistrict

Here's Day 1 (East Anchorage): akmemo.substack.com/p/redistrictin…

Here's Day 2 (Mat-Su): akmemo.substack.com/p/redistrictin…
Jan 25 16 tweets 3 min read
I'm tracking redistricting, but a really interesting presentation over in House Finance right now. Currently meeting with the Alaska Permanent Fund consultants, Callan and Associates, talking about risk modeling and ad hoc draws on the fund.

#akleg

w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play… It's important because there's concern that following the firing of Executive Director Angela Rodell, the fund's Board of Trustees may opt for a riskier investment strategy and break with rules-based approach for payouts to government.
Jan 24 89 tweets 15 min read
It's trial day for the Mat-Su Borough/MSB Manager Brown's challenge to the Alaska Redistricting Board. They've got two main points:

We don't like Valdez; they don't like us.
You crammed too many voters into Mat-Su districts.

Watch:

#akleg #akredistrict They'll also get an out-of-order witness from the Valdez case, Valdez Mayor Sharon Scheidt.

The Redistricting Board had objected to several Mat-Su witnesses (their testimony is pre-filed) and Judge Matthews has overruled them, but notes that he'll still weigh the concerns.
Jan 21 33 tweets 7 min read
On the board testimony issues, Judge Matthews: "Both parties make arguments that are well-grounded." He says Singer already had the chance to file testimony and supplemental affidavits for his witnesses. Singer doesn't get to call additional re-directs (additional questioning) but can file supplemental affidavits for consideration.

Plaintiffs would get opportunity for cross.
Jan 21 87 tweets 12 min read
The first day of the trial challenging the Alaska Redistricting Board's work is underway. Today, they'll be kicking it off with the East Anchorage plaintiffs, who are challenging the Senate pairings with the conservative Eagle River.

#akleg #akredistrict

It's going to be an unusual trial because the direct testimony has already been filed. The opening arguments, too. They'll be starting out with cross examination and then direct testimony.
Jan 20 36 tweets 7 min read
The House Finance Committee is underway with an overview hearing on Gov. Dunleavy's budget proposal.

#akleg

Watch: akleg.gov/includes/_play…
Presentation: akleg.gov/basis/get_docu… Steininger explaining how the state's budget has been reduced by ~5% since Dunleavy took office with most of the cuts coming to the University of Alaska and a few other areas. Notes quite a bit of it, though, has been eaten up by more spending on public safety, corrections.
Jan 20 21 tweets 5 min read
S. Finance is underway. They're taking a look at the revenue forecast with DoR's Chief Economist Dan Stickel. Stedman prefaces by saying investments have surpassed oil, but "that might be switching around."

#akleg

Watch: w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play…
Docs: akleg.gov/basis/Meeting/… Stedman says they all need to start settling into a base number for oil price. The state has started to update it more regularly, which Stedman suggests is not particularly helpful because it can make for big swings in the budget outlook.
Jan 20 16 tweets 3 min read
Meanwhile, the Superior Court has its final pre-trial briefing. The Alaska Redistricting Board is refusing to make members Borromeo and Bahnke available to testify on Senate pairings.

Singer: "I don't have any obligation" to provide witnesses who didn't support the plan.

#akleg Singer, board's counsel, says the depositions are fine.

It sounds like they're going to be putting up Budd Simpson, not Bethany Marcum—the member who came up with the pairings.

Judge Matthews seems to agree with Singer. "What more different information am I likely to get?"
Jan 19 16 tweets 4 min read
For the afternoon #akleg, we've got concurrent hearings of the S. Finance Committee on Senate President Micciche's alcohol rewrite bill: w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play…

House Judiciary on a bill dealing with access to MJ conviction records by Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins: w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play… JKT on his legislation, says it would remove some records of convictions for simple marijuana possession from the public record. You'd have to have been 21+ at the time with no other crimes committed in the act to have your record sealed.

He says it matches the current times. Image
Jan 19 23 tweets 5 min read
The Senate Finance Committee is underway. On today's agenda is a look at the state's production forecast (which plays into revenue and therefore the budget).

Watch: ktoo.org/gavel/video/20…
Docs: akleg.gov/basis/Meeting/…

#akleg Image Sen. Stedman is opening up with an introduction of committee staff as well as legislative aides. When he gets to Sen. Bishop's team, Stedman says: "His duties are whatever his boss assigns him."
Jan 17 92 tweets 20 min read
Hot off Gov. Dunleavy's tantrum over the press refusing to look the other way on the firing of APFC director Angela Rodell, the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee is holding a hearing on the firing of Angela Rodell.

w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play…

#akleg They're currently in executive session on an unrelated topic (Board of Pharmacy audit).
Jan 17 18 tweets 6 min read
Gov. Dunleavy is holding a pre-#akleg presser.

Starts off with invoking MLK Jr. and says, "We just have to make sure we understand what his message was, not what some folks would like it to be and that message, once again, is unity."

#akgov

Watch: facebook.com/watch/live/?re… Among the priorities outlined in his opening, Dunleavy says the state needs the budget for the upcoming elections to do education "budgets to hire people, budgets to do recalls and purge our roles where necessary."

"Purge roles where necessary."

#akleg
Jan 17 26 tweets 8 min read
The Legislative Council is meeting this morning. This is the make-up meeting continuing last Thursday's hearing. On the agenda is an executive session about the scholarship lawsuit and then possible updates to the building's covid-19 policy.

w3.akleg.gov/includes/_play…

#akleg This afternoon at 2 p.m. will be the day's key hearing when the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee is set to hold its hearing on the firing of Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation's executive director Angela Rodell... which is also set to start with an executive session.

#akleg