Senate Finance grills OMB, Education Commissioner over budget

Hoffman calls 25 percent proposed cuts to education ‘unacceptable’

In this Nov. 30, 2018 file photo, House District 1 candidate Republican Bart LeBon points to a vote tally board with his campaign manager Brittany Hartmann during a election recount at the Department of Elections’ Juneau office. Republican Bart LeBon picked up two votes while Democrat Kathryn Dodge picked up one making him the winner of the election with a total of 2,663 votes. LeBon joined the bipartisan House Majority Coalition on Thursday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
In this Nov. 30, 2018 file photo, House District 1 candidate Republican Bart LeBon points to a vote tally board with his campaign manager Brittany Hartmann during a election recount at the Department of Elections’ Juneau office. Republican Bart LeBon picked up two votes while Democrat Kathryn Dodge picked up one making him the winner of the election with a total of 2,663 votes. LeBon joined the bipartisan House Majority Coalition on Thursday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Kelly Goode, right, deputy commissioner for the Department of Corrections, sits alongside DOC Administrative Services Director Sylvan Robb, center, and Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin as they present to the Senate Finance Committee on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)
Kelly Goode, right, deputy commissioner for the Department of Corrections, sits alongside DOC Administrative Services Director Sylvan Robb, center, and Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin as they present to the Senate Finance Committee on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)
Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, poses questions to Department of Corrections and Office of Management and Budget officials during a Senate Finance Committee meetingon Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)
Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, poses questions to Department of Corrections and Office of Management and Budget officials during a Senate Finance Committee meetingon Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)
Bethany Lowrance, left, of Gavel Alaska, and Rashah McChesney, a reporter with the Alaska Energy Desk (a collaboration between stations of the Alaska Public Radio Network), cover a Senate Finance Committee meeting at the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget may end all state funding for public radio and broadcast stations. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Alaska’s radio, TV contribution on the chopping block

Dunleavy’s budget would cut state funding for public media.

Bethany Lowrance, left, of Gavel Alaska, and Rashah McChesney, a reporter with the Alaska Energy Desk (a collaboration between stations of the Alaska Public Radio Network), cover a Senate Finance Committee meeting at the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget may end all state funding for public radio and broadcast stations. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Donna Arduin, Director of the Office of Budget and Management, left, and Lacey Sanders, Budget Director for OMB, present Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s state budget in front of the Senate Finance Committee at the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Donna Arduin, Director of the Office of Budget and Management, left, and Lacey Sanders, Budget Director for OMB, present Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s state budget in front of the Senate Finance Committee at the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
In this June 16, 2005 photo, Jack Coghill sits by the Tanana River in Nenana, Alaska. One of the last remaining members of the Alaska constitutional convention, former Lt. Gov. Jack Coghill died Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, at age 93 in North Pole. (Dan Joling | Associated Press File)

Signer of Alaska Constitution, Jack Coghill, dies at age 93

He was a political icon in the state.

In this June 16, 2005 photo, Jack Coghill sits by the Tanana River in Nenana, Alaska. One of the last remaining members of the Alaska constitutional convention, former Lt. Gov. Jack Coghill died Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, at age 93 in North Pole. (Dan Joling | Associated Press File)
University of Alaska Southeast Instructor Jim Powell, left, his wife, former Rep. Beth Kerttula, and Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, right, stand up a university sign as former Chancellor John Pugh speaks at a rally for funding the University of Alaska in front of the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Governor proposes cutting almost half of university’s total operating budget

It would be the largest budget cut in the university’s 100-year history.

University of Alaska Southeast Instructor Jim Powell, left, his wife, former Rep. Beth Kerttula, and Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, right, stand up a university sign as former Chancellor John Pugh speaks at a rally for funding the University of Alaska in front of the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin and members of her budget team takes time to explain Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s state budget at the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Proposed Medicaid, health care cuts spark outrage

One health care advocate called the budget proposal “outrageous.”

Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin and members of her budget team takes time to explain Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s state budget at the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Governor proposes cutting ferry funding at the end of the summer

Administration hopes private contractor will take over.

Marijuana industry testifies against governor’s control board nominee

“There’s this undercurrent of trying to push back the marijuana industry.”

Donna Arduin, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, speaks to House members during an informational meeting at the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Donna Arduin, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, speaks to House members during an informational meeting at the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Crime bill held up over conflict of interest

Lawmakers say new ethics rule too ‘fuzzy.’

Health insurance costs strain school districts’ budgets

Health insurance accounts for 16 percent of one district’s budget.

The Alaska State Capitol. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

No-bid contract for psychiatric institute raises questions

A previous report advised against privatizing the institute.

The Alaska State Capitol. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)
Andy Jones, Director of the Department of Health and Social Services’ Office of Substance Misuse, right, speak about the fiscal impacts of the opioids on the state along with Michael Duxbury, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, center, and Laura Brooks, Director of Health and Rehabilitation for the Department of Corrections, in front of the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Andy Jones, Director of the Department of Health and Social Services’ Office of Substance Misuse, right, speak about the fiscal impacts of the opioids on the state along with Michael Duxbury, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, center, and Laura Brooks, Director of Health and Rehabilitation for the Department of Corrections, in front of the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Amanda Price, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, right, watches as Kathryn Monfreda, bureau chief of the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Statewide Services, presents the Uniform Crime Reporting Annual Report to House members during an informational meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

State changing system for recording crimes

Costs to municipal agencies remain unknown.

Amanda Price, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, right, watches as Kathryn Monfreda, bureau chief of the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Statewide Services, presents the Uniform Crime Reporting Annual Report to House members during an informational meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Wasilla, listens to Attorney General Kevin Clarkson speak about Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s four crime bills at the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Ethics restrictions too broad, some lawmakers say

They believe the intentions of the law are good.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Wasilla, listens to Attorney General Kevin Clarkson speak about Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s four crime bills at the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Craig Stowers calls out his staff sitting in the gallery during his State of the Judiciary address before a joint session of the Alaska Legislature at the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

State of Judiciary time, date set

It comes between visits from senators.

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Craig Stowers calls out his staff sitting in the gallery during his State of the Judiciary address before a joint session of the Alaska Legislature at the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)