health insurance

State witnesses take the stand in Fairbanks Four case

By Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The state has begun calling witnesses in the Fairbanks Four evidentiary hearing now in its fourth week. Witnesses so far were summoned by attorneys representing exoneration petitioners George Frese, Kevin Pease, Marvin Roberts, and Eugene Vent. Now the focus has shifted to witnesses offered by state lawyers trying to uphold the men’s convictions for the murder of John Hartman.

In a work session Wednesday, the Federal Subsistence Board discussed but did not act on a proposal that federal agencies take over management of the Kuskokwim River coho salmon fishery. The board is awaiting an in-depth analysis and recommendations on the issue from the Office of Subsistence Management. The board does support the state's suspension of commercial fishing periods, according to a press release. The request came after long closures of king salmon fisheries, and smaller than expected returns of red and silver salmon.

Legislators have been inundated with phone calls, e-mails, letters and petitions over the Governor's bill aimed at streamlined permitting, but that critics say gives the state too much authority and leaves the public out of the process.

The Board of Fish has okayed dip-net fishing on the Kuskokwim River to allow fishermen to release King salmon live back into the river and help boost their population.

March 31 is the deadline for enrollment in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and for Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend applications.

Buying rather than leasing a legislative office building in Anchorage would save the state $2.4 million a year, according to Rep. Mike Hawker, Legislative Council chair.

The Alaska House has rejected extending a perk to military same-sex partners - the use of their home-state drivers' license when here temporarily.

The House Finance committee is looking at ways to handle the state's debt to employee pensions.

Alaska's life expectancy is 34th in the nation, and that of Alaska Native people is seven years less than that of Alaskan non-Natives.