32nd Legislature

Gavel Alaska

Soldotna’s Kristie Babcock was confirmed to the Alaska Judicial Council today in a tight vote by the Alaska Legislature.

Babcock, who runs a State Farm Insurance agency in Kenai, was among a slew of appointees confirmed Tuesday from Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy. She’s married to Tuckerman Babcock, the former chair of the Alaska Republican Party and Dunleavy’s former chief of staff.

Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas

Oil and gas leasing isn’t allowed in Kachemak Bay. The state blocked development there after an oil rig got stuck and leaked oil into the bay in 1976.

But legislation proposed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy would allow the state to sell subsurface gas-only leases in part of Kachemak Bay, so oil and gas companies could drill into undersea reservoirs from miles away.

More broadly, the bill would permit subsurface leasing and drilling where surface drilling is currently prohibited. And the bill’s opponents say that would unravel state restrictions meant to protect wildlife.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

A delayed state budget process could result in temporary layoffs, or “pink slips,” for Alaska's teachers. It’s what happens when the Legislature is behind in its budgeting and school districts can’t guarantee teachers spots on the payroll for the fall.

A bill the House of Representatives passed this week, House Bill 169, would preempt those layoffs, funding public education sooner than the rest of the budget.

KTOO file photo

Several Alaska Republican legislators have signed on to a bill defending what they call “COVID-19 immunization rights.” 

Representatives Ben Carpenter, of Nikiski, Sarah Vance, of Homer and Chris Kurka, of Wasilla, are sponsoring House Bill 175. 

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Freshman Republican Rep. Ron Gillham held a town hall in his home district this weekend to catch community members up on what he’s been doing in Juneau.

Before an unmasked crowd at The Catch in Soldotna, Gillham spoke about the new bills he’s brought forward since beginning his term.

“We started out just kind of small," he said.