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9/4/14 KNBA News - Alaska Native language speakers win voting rights case against state

Sep 3, 2014

A federal district court has sided with four villages who filed suit saying the state needs to do more to protect voting rights of non-English speaking Alaskans.  The state of Alaska said because the languages are not written, it was doing enough by providing oral translations. However, attorneys for the plaintiffs says poll workers are not directed nor paid to provide oral translations at the polls. The state provides a written translation of ballots, but does not provide any pre-election information on candidates, bond measures, Constitutional issues, or ballot measures in the Yup'ik or Gwitchin Athabascan languages. Federal District Court Judge Sharon Gleason  gave the state until Friday to come up with remedies to implement in time for the November election.

A federal appeals court says an Alaska Railroad permit to discharge storm water into Resurrection Bay at Seward does not cover coal that falls off a conveyor belt. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the Alaska Community Action on Toxics and the Sierra Club in 2009.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has agreed to buy up to $13 million worth of canned pink salmon to ease a glut that has weighed down prices for Alaska fishermen. In July, Gov. Sean Parnell asked the USDA to buy $37 million worth of canned fish under a federal law that allows the government to purchase surplus food from farmers and donate it to food banks or other programs.