AUSTIN BAIRD

Taj Mahal returns to Alaska for performances, fishing

JUNEAU - It takes a certain type of person to get on stage under a name taken from a building renowned as one of the most beautiful ever constructed, without being laughed out of the room. Read more

Sex trafficking bill overshadowed by oil taxes, but part of special session

JUNEAU - Alaska lawmakers are expected to spend most of the special session addressing concerns about the state's tax on oil industry and discussing the elusive in-state gas pipeline, but Gov. Read more

Mixed reviews for Alaska's school funding increase

JUNEAU - Education leaders are content but not exuberant about a deal brokered over the course of the legislative session that went through many changes and ended with a $90.7 million increase of K-12 school funding. Read more

Keller will let autism insurance bill pass

JUNEAU — Rep. Wes Keller still sees flaws in a bill that extends insurance coverage to some children for treatment of autism, but the chairman of... Read more

Bill requires Alaska-created conservation, development curriculum

JUNEAU - The chairman of the House Education Committee has proposed a bill that requires Alaska public schools develop curriculum conveying constitutional principles of resource use, development and conservation. Rep. Read more

Districts warn of layoffs without budget increase

JUNEAU - School district officials are taking advantage of a trip to Juneau to outline their financial struggles to lawmakers as part of a plea for increased funding. Read more

House Finance Committee discusses school funding

JUNEAU - The House Finance Committee began a series of hearings Monday to try to determine how the state funds Alaska school districts and how much additional funding, if any, districts should receive this year. Read more

Committee talks medically necessary abortion again

JUNEAU - For the second time in as many weeks, legislators on Thursday debated a proposal to define in state law what qualifies as "medically necessary" abortion. That phrase has carried significance in Alaska. Read more

Do-not-resuscitate law contested by hospital

JUNEAU - Lawmakers on Monday debated whether language in the state's "do-not-resuscitate" law includes the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and if not, whether that should be spelled out more clearly. Sen. Read more

Anchorage prosecutor slams self-defense bill

JUNEAU - A bill that would expand the right to use lethal force as a means of self-defense is dangerous, without support in the prosecutorial community, and rife with potential unintended consequences, an Anchorage prosecutor said Friday. Read more

Alaska courts taking new approach to rural justice

JUNEAU - Alaska Magistrate Mike Jackson of Kake first heard of "circle sentencing" in the mid-1990s, when alcohol-related problems in his village were burgeoning. Read more

Bill calls for investigation of price gouging at refineries

JUNEAU - A bill banning price gouging in Alaska is getting its first hearing Tuesday afternoon. Sen. Read more

New approach to an old Alaska alcohol problem

JUNEAU - A proposal before the Alaska Legislature would give judges flexibility when handing down criminal sentences to people who were born with effects caused by their mother drinking during pregnancy. Read more

Teen cell phone ban gets approval from legislative panel

JUNEAU - The state House Transportation Committee on Thursday approved a ban on cellphone use by minors while driving, sending the measure onto another legislative panel. Previously attempted bans have fallen short, but Anchorage Democratic Rep. Read more

Base development credit ready for vote

JUNEAU - Businesses and communities around Alaska are one step closer to getting economic incentives to develop areas around the state's military bases and facilities after the House State Affairs Committee cleared the bill on Tuesday. Read more

Will Alaska be same-sex marriage's Last Frontier?

JUNEAU - Stephanie Figarelle and Lela McArthur traveled more than 3,300 miles from their Anchorage home to get married, and in high fashion they became the first same-sex couple to exchange vows at the Empire State Building. Read more

Alaska lawmakers disagree on school intervention

JUNEAU - The Senate Education Committee on Monday discussed a plan that would change how the state intervenes in struggling school districts, while a House bill takes a different approach to the same issue. Read more

Committee hears support of education funding bill

JUNEAU - The Senate Finance Committee heard overwhelming support Wednesday for a proposed increase in education funding. Read more

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