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The Alaska House and Senate are moving their work from Juneau to Anchorage. Legislative majority leaders made the announcement the same day the Governor warned state workers of massive layoffs if the Legislature doesn't approve a fully-funded budget. A quarter of the state's 16,000 employees work in Juneau. KTOO's Lisa Phu talked with some of them on their lunch hour at the State Office Building in Juneau.

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Legislators debate states’ rights and constitutionality of a state law to seize federal lands

Monday, legislators voted on a controversial bill that would seize some 170 million acres of federal land in Alaska, excluding national parks and the military. Opponents said the bill is unconstitutional, and, with a fiscal crisis at hand, now is not the time to begin pointless litigation. But bill supporters said Alaskans should be able to fight for what is rightfully theirs. The bill passed 27 to 11 along caucus lines. It will now be sent to the Senate.

Tununak v state of Alaska is "potentially explosive"

Yesterday, the state Department of Law asked the Alaska Supreme Court for more time in a case tribes say will show whether Governor Bill Walker is serious about campaign pledges to work cooperatively with tribes, and determine how the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, will be implemented in Alaska.

Taxes, law enforcement, fish and game management up for discussion By Ben Matheson, KYUK Tribal representatives from the Yukon-Kuskokwim region are meeting today in Bethel to discuss whether to create a new regional tribal government or pursue changes to an existing non-profit like the Association of Village Council Presidents. They could also choose to make no changes. The regional for-profit corporation Calista facilitated the Governance Convention. Proponents of a new government say big changes are needed to unify the region.

Alaska Native advocates ask Walker to ensure the Indian Child Welfare Act is properly implemented in Alaska

The Alaska Federation of Natives, and all the regional Native nonprofit organizations in the state are asking Governor Bill Walker to change his position in a case involving the adoption of an Alaska Native child. They say the state’s position in the case Tununuk II vs. the state of Alaska erects barriers between tribal children and tribal homes. The state has said it’s only arguing for compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Alaskan tribes allowed to exercise same rights as lower 48 tribes

Tribes in Alaska are celebrating a decision that allows them to apply to have lands placed into trust status with the federal government. The Department of Interior issued regulations settling a long-running dispute between Interior, the state of Alaska, and tribes over an interpretation of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA). 

Teams buoyed by hope, sense of new beginnings despite state's finances

This weekend, Walker-Mallott transition teams met at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. Some 230 Alaskans were grouped by topics such as oil and gas, education, fisheries, fiscal policy and health care. Their task was to work toward consensus on goals, priorities, and recommended actions for incoming Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov.-elect Byron Mallott.

Sen. Mark Begich makes land trade for an Arctic port a high priority

Earlier this week, Sen. Begich conceded he lost the election, but for now, until Jan. 3, he's still a U.S. Senator, and he's back in Washington.

With 30,000 votes yet to be counted, AP says Begich cannot overcome Sullivan's lead

U.S. Representative Don Young, a Republican, is running for his 22nd term as Alaska's sole representative to the U.S. House, a seat he's held for 41 years. He faces Forrest Dunbar, a Democrat, in the general election on Tuesday.

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