Juneau Empire

We're not mathematicians. That's why we prefer to dabble in words and not numbers.

Fortunately, it doesn't require a declaration of the Alaska Office of Management and Budget for us to know that heating, powering and maintaining two buildings is more expensive than one.

That's why we're scratching our heads at the Legislative Council's 12-1 vote last week to purchase a new office building for Anchorage lawmakers.

On Thursday, the Alaska House voted 28-11 to approve Senate Bill 91.

The Alaska Senate should concur with the amendments made by the House to this 114-page measure. Then, Gov. Bill Walker should sign it into law.

Alaska's criminal justice system is broken and desperately needs repair. Without significant changes, the state's prison population will continue to rise.

One way or another, Alaskans will be taxed. The Legislature should decide how much.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 17-3 to approve Senate Bill 210, which would significantly reduce state funding provided to Alaska’s larger cities. It’s a move intended to reduce the state’s $4 billion budget deficit, but it does nothing but push taxes from the state level to the local level.

 

It's unfortunate that legislation like Senate Bill 174 even needs to be debated. In a perfect world, there would be no threat of violence at institutions of higher learning. But the times we live in require unorthodox solutions to curb the trend of mass shootings on university campuses.

SB 174, which would allow for the concealed carry of firearms and knives on University of Alaska campuses, isn't a perfect solution, but it's a better solution than doing nothing.

The Alaska Senate voted 16-4 on Monday to approve an $8.73 billion state operations budget that includes $571 million in cuts and sets up the full Legislature to begin a debate on taxes.

The Senate’s budget will be combined with an $8.66 billion version the House passed last week. A final, compromise version of the budget is not expected until the end of the Legislative session, after lawmakers have figured out how to pay for it.

The Alaska Democratic Party might be a little less democratic if party delegates decide to adopt a rule change at their May meeting.

A spokesman told The Associated Press (last) week that the party will ask the state’s Division of Elections to implement a change that would allow independent candidates to run in the Democratic primary. The change would be in place for the 2016-17 election cycle, at which time party delegates would have to then renew it in 2018.