A state panel on Wednesday announced a proposal to increase pay for top state executives. Unless blocked by the Legislature, the governor’s salary will increase from $145,000 to $150,873 and the lieutenant governor’s salary will rise from $115,000 to $119,658. State commissioners will also see a raise of nearly $10,000 per year. At the same time, administration officials are concerned about “astronomical” unfunded liabilities in the state’s retirement systems.
The National Park Service is soliciting applications for commercial tours in Denali National Park between February and May. This will be part of a 3-5 year pilot program, during which time the road into the park will be plowed out to mile 12 (in past winters it has only been plowed out to park headquarters, at mile 3).
A nursing shortage has affected the ability of hospitals in Soldotna to offer round-the-clock forensic examinations in cases of sexual assault, elder abuse, domestic violence, and child neglect. Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage had stopped doing exams overnight at the beginning of October for the same reason, but the hospital has adjusted staff assignments to restore services as of November 16.
Supporters of the West Anchorage tennis courts have offered to put Assembly members in contact with tennis stars Andre Agassi and Venus and Serena Williams. The Assembly has politely declined.
Don Young is now the longest-serving Republican member of Congress, following the death of Rep. Bill Young (R-Florida).
A Kenai River fishing guide and the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance have filed papers for a ballot measure to ban set netting in Cook Inlet and other urban parts of the state.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would provide legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, passed in the Senate yesterday. Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski both supported the legislation, which passed by a vote of 64-32.
A measure to raise the minimum wage in SeaTac, Washington to $15/hour is currently on track to pass, though SeaTac’s small population leaves the measure officially too close to call. Alaska Airlines was one of several companies that tried to block the measure in court. If passed, SeaTac workers will also receive paid sick leave, pay increases linked to inflation, and other legal protections.
During a last-minute rally for Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli’s unsuccessful run for governor, Ron Paul urged “nullification” of the Affordable Care Act – an awkward argument to make in the former capital of the Confederacy. In the same rally, Cuccinelli warned of a future in which the government forces Americans to buy General Motors cars and asparagus.
Toronto’s mayor admitted to smoking crack cocaine after local police revealed that they had video evidence in their possession. The mayor believes he may have “been in a drunken stupor.” Amazingly, the situations has devolved further, with the release of new video footage of the embattled mayor vowing murder. He maintains that he has no plans to resign.
Thanks, Canada. We needed the moment away from introspection.