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Local News

Lawmakers discuss proposed new marijuana board

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 1:15pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Lawmakers discussed Wednesday who would sit on a new marijuana board, and what it might cost the state, during a first hearing on a bill that would create a new regulatory body. Gov. Bill Walker introduced companion bills in the House and Senate to create a five-member marijuana board that would share staff and resources with the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control board. It was discussed Wednesday in House Labor and Commerce. The board would include a member each from the public safety and health sectors; one from a rural area; one or two from the marijuana industry; and one or two from the general public. Costs associated with the board are estimated at $1.6 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

Medicaid expansion event brings out lawmakers, Davidson

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 1:00pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Legislators, aides and others heard an alternate viewpoint on Medicaid expansion from a senior fellow with an organization that has referred to the "dangers" expansion poses in states that opt for it. Christie Herrera, with the Foundation for Government Accountability, spoke to problems that she said some states have experienced. Herrera spoke during an informal "lunch and learn," sponsored by Sen. Mike Dunleavy. State health commissioner Valerie Davidson, who also attended, questioned Herrera's use of data in Arizona and Maine, which expanded Medicaid on their own and not under the federal health care law. Herrera said those states, billed as cautionary tales, provide a longer-term view of data. Gov. Bill Walker is planning town-hall meetings to tout the benefits of expansion and rally support as lawmakers consider it.

Lawmaker wants to limit seine vessel length

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 12:45pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A Ketchikan lawmaker is proposing that no seine vessels longer than 58 feet can fish in state salmon fisheries. Rep. Dan Ortiz said the bill he introduced Wednesday would protect fishing and processing opportunities for Alaskans by limiting the size of boats seining for salmon. The bill would remove language from state law that enables the Board of Fisheries to allow longer vessels. Ortiz said the bill was not intended to limit the board, but responded to a community concern. Ortiz said the larger boats take more of the catch, which can limit opportunities for fishermen with smaller boats, and that a longer seiner might process on board, taking jobs out of coastal communities. The board is expected to consider a proposal addressing seine lengths in March.

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