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Ruling allows trust status for Alaska tribal lands

Friday, December 19, 2014 6:00am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A court decision is allowing Alaska tribes to apply for federal trust status for their lands. Alaska Public Radio Network reports that the U.S. Department of Interior published a final regulation in a prolonged dispute between tribes, the agency and the state of Alaska. At issue was an interpretation of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act that held that Alaska tribes had lost that right under the settlement act. Four tribes and one Alaska Native individual filed a lawsuit in 2006 over the matter. The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., rejected the state's position that the settlement act mandated different treatment for tribes in Alaska. The state is appealing. Trust status means local and state governments cannot tax economic development initiatives tribes may develop on their lands.

Walker considers delay in legal marijuana sales

Friday, December 19, 2014 5:45am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Alaska Gov. Bill Walker says he's considering a 90-day delay in implementing legal marijuana sales. Alaska voters in November approved legalizing recreational use of marijuana. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Walker told the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce he's exploring a delay in the part of the measure that allows for commercial sales. The ballot measure specified that adults no longer would be arrested under state law for possessing up to an ounce of pot outside their homes 90 days after election results were certified. That date is Feb. 24. The state has nine months more to produce regulations for commercial sales, three months to begin accepting applications and three months after that to issue permits. Commercial growers could produce marijuana for sale in May 2016 under the timeline.

Minimum wage increase to take effect Feb 24

Friday, December 19, 2014 5:30am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska's minimum wage will go up by a $1 an hour, to $8.75 an hour, starting Feb. 24. Voters in November approved a ballot measure that called for an increase on Jan. 1. That would have held true had the ballot measure appeared on the August primary ballot, as originally expected. But when the last legislative session ran long, it pushed to the November ballot the initiatives that had been scheduled for the primary. Since the constitution calls for ballot measures to take effect 90 days after the election results are certified, the effective date in this case will be in February. The state labor department says the next scheduled increase in the minimum wage, to $9.75 an hour, will take effect Jan. 1, 2016.
 

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