State Senate pares another $63 million from House budget

Based on a story by APRN’s Juneau Correspondent Andrew Kitchenman

With the state facing a $3.5 billion budget deficit, House and Senate Legislative leaders have focused on cuts to the state budget before finding ways to raise new or additional revenues.

The Senate voted Monday on a state government budget that goes $63 million deeper in cuts than the House budget passed Friday, thanks in part to a $100 million cut to the executive branch.

A bill to limit abortions to those that are medically necessary for physical conditions, and not for mental health issues, is under consideration in the Alaska House. The bill doesn't include access to birth control and family planning services that had been provided in an earlier version.

Gov. Sean Parnell has introduced a bill that would put $3 billion toward paying down the state's obligations to the public employees' and teachers' retirement systems, replacing an earlier budget request.

A bill that restricts Medicaid payments for abortions, and includes no money for family planning, has moved from its final House committee. It goes next to the floor, then to the Governor.

The Iditarod sled-dog race draws the attention of thousands of teachers and students internationally.

A bill that would limit Medicaid payouts for abortion is before the Legislature again, this time without provisions for birth control and STD testing.

The 2013 record harvest of pink salmon could create a market glut that will drive down prices for several years, say state officials.

Alaska House Democrats have confirmed Sam Kito III, a lobbyist, for Juneau's vacated House seat.