Having never held a hearing during the first five days of the latest special session, the House has called it quits.
Shortly after 2 p.m. Friday, House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, called for the end of the session during a rare floor speech, recognizing his chamber's inability to act on any of Gov. Bill Walker's proposals to address Alaska's fiscal crisis.
"Although I share the governor's view that at some point in the near future we will have to look at new revenue measures, it's apparent to me after discussions ... there's no support to move forward with any of these different tax proposals that the governor has proposed," he said, noting he had talked with both majority and minority members before making the decision.
The move was preceded by a series of floor speeches by both Republicans and Democrats about the budget, Walker's veto of the permanent fund dividend and the future of the state. The speeches ranged from traditional floor speeches to what sounded like more political stump speeches.
Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, followed a particularly political speech by saying it's not time to point blame.
"I don't know that today is really a day to point fingers. We have a $3.5 billion budget deficit," he said. "People can blame members of the Legislature or the governor, but the answer is we need to find our way out of a complete mess."
Rob Duke's insight:
This is a natural result of an aggrandized executive. The executive was designed to share power with the legislature and judiciary, but in Alaska (and many other states along with the Federal government), the executive has either been designed to be very strong (as in Alaska's case); or has morphed into a much stronger position over time (see the literature on Presidential Aggrandizement)....
“WANTED: people of promise”, proclaimed ads for America’s Federal Service Entrance Examination, introduced in 1955. Applicants faced posers on grammar and arithmetic—as well as the Battle of the Bulge and why presidential aides deserve anonymity (answer: “they relieve the president of many burdens and should not be subjected to a great deal of personal criticism”). But little more than two decades later, such exams had come under fire. Some said they tested knowledge rather than talent, thereby discriminating against black and Latino applicants. More broadly, their usefulness for picking tax-collectors and the like was questioned. In 1981 they were ditched.
Last year the tests were resurrected, tweaked to be fairer and more useful. Growth in the number of university graduates, together with the popularity of a safe job in difficult economic times, had left many branches of government struggling to cope with a flood of applications. Federal agencies are now assessing candidates with USA Hire, an online quiz more relevant to the work to be done.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Esri President Jack Dangermond will unveil L.A.’s exciting new GeoHub, a citywide application and data information portal. The GeoHub is a first-of-its-kind technology infrastructure that provides location as a service (LaaS) including real-time data and mapping tools.
Core Values highlighted hundreds of companies across the country that are moving to and investing in walkable downtown locations. According to the companies themselves, walkable downtowns offer competitive advantages that suburban locations can’t. Most notably, that many of the country’s most talented workers want to live and work in walkable neighborhoods, and companies need to be in these places in order to win the war for that talent.
In a video released by the government of the Northwest Territories, the lake can be seen breaching a retaining wall weakened by thawing permafrost and dumping half its contents in a waterfall nearly five stories tall.
WASILLA — The Chickaloon Village Traditional Council is defying an order from the Alaska State Fire Marshal's Office to halt construction on a tribal office building until a state review is done.
Chickaloon Native Village officials say the tribe's right to self-governance trumps a stop-work order issued by a fire marshal during a tense encounter last week near Sutton that was first reported by the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman newspaper.
The Chickaloon Native Village tribe is one of 229 tribes in Alaska to be federally recognized.
This week, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi will for the first time face the victims of his decision to keep oil pumps flowing despite a global glut: U.S. shale oil producers struggling to survive the worst price crash in years.
While soaring U.S. shale output brought on by the hydraulic fracturing revolution contributed to oversupply, many blame the 70-percent price collapse in the past 20 months primarily on Naimi, seen as the oil market's most influential policymaker.
During his keynote on Tuesday at the annual IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston, Naimi will be addressing U.S. wildcatters and executives who are stuck in a zero sum game.
"OPEC, instead of cutting production, they increased production, and that's the predicament we're in right now," Bill Thomas, chief executive of EOG Resources Inc (EOG.N), one of the largest U.S. shale oil producers, told an industry conference last week, referring to 2015.
It will be Naimi's first public appearance in the United States since Saudi Arabia led the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' shock decision in November 2014 to keep heavily pumping oil even though mounting oversupply was already sending prices into free-fall.
Naimi has said this was not an attempt to target any specific countries or companies, merely an effort to protect the kingdom's market share against fast-growing, higher-cost producers.
For instance: Last spring we met a group of San Bernardinians in their 20s and early 30s who called themselves Generation Now—San Bernardino. They were white, black, and Latino. (The city is about 60 percent Latino, 20 percent white, the rest black or Asian.) Some had finished college, some were still studying, some had not gone to college. They worked as artists or accountants or in part-time jobs. But all were involved in what you could call a raveling-up of the town’s tattered social fabric.
“I was just pissed off,” an artist in his 20s named Michael Segura told us. “By the time I was old enough to vote, everything was in such terrible shape in San Bernardino. We just heard all the time that it’s a city of losers. We’d had enough.” In early 2013, just after the city declared bankruptcy and appeared to be at the depth of its hopelessness, he and a handful of friends began efforts to engage the city’s generally disaffected residents in improving their collective future.
The problem is that water expands when it freezes. If that water is in living tissue, it does all sorts of damage in the process. But an alliance of experts, ranging from surgeons and biochemists to mechanical engineers and food scientists, is attempting to overcome this inconvenient fact. And, after years of labour, many of them think they are on the threshold of success, and that cryopreservation will soon become a valuable technology.
A lot of people had awful commutes last night, thanks to snow. And a lot of people had fine ones. One explanation for the difference: Suburban roads are far more susceptible to catastrophic breakdown than urban street grids.
No, I don’t think so. First of all, its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil. Second of all, I think it would be very divisive. The real issue is when we look at the poverty rate among the African American community, when we look at the high unemployment rate within the African American community, we have a lot of work to do.
So I think what we should be talking about is making massive investments in rebuilding our cities, in creating millions of decent paying jobs, in making public colleges and universities tuition-free, basically targeting our federal resources to the areas where it is needed the most and where it is needed the most is in impoverished communities, often African American and Latino.
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