The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) has opened a public process to gather information about broadband internet service in Alaska, including current and future projects. The RCA will use the voluntary information for a report to the Alaska Legislature. The effort to examine the availability of broadband internet in Alaska is the result of intent language inserted into the FY 2018 budget at the behest of House Finance Committee member Representative David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks).
Governor Bill Walker today signed a trio of bills in Southeast Alaska. Senate Bill 3 reestablishes “best management” standards for the handling of waste water discharged from small commercial passenger vessels – including state ferries – while Senate Bill 33 officially names the two new Alaska Class Ferries currently under construction M/V Tazlina and M/V Hubbard. Senate Bill 88 complements federal legislation to approve a land trade between the United States Forest Service and the Alaska Mental Health Trust. SB 3 was signed in Sitka; SB 33 and 88 were signed in Ketchikan.
The Department of Law announced the appointment of Gustaf Olson as the new Kodiak District Attorney starting September 1, 2017. Mr. Olson replaces Steve Wallace who became the Bethel District Attorney earlier this summer.
The Coast Guard 17th District is scheduled to host its annual Buoy Tender Roundup in Juneau, Alaska, Aug. 14-18.
Today, the Municipality of Anchorage announced a data-sharing partnership with Waze (http://www.waze.com), the free, real-time crowdsourced traffic and navigation app powered by the world’s largest community of drivers. Designed as a free, two-way data share of publicly available traffic information, the Connected Citizens Program promotes greater efficiency, deeper insights and safer roads for citizens of the Municipality of Anchorage along with more than 250 other partners around the world.
U.S. Coast Guardsmen and U.S. Navy sailors conducted shipboard dive operations from a Coast Guard cutter in the Arctic July 29 for the first time since two Coast Guard divers perished in a subsurface accident almost 11 years ago.
Population estimates by race and Hispanic origin for Alaska and for each borough and census area are now available online as downloadable Excel spreadsheets. These new estimates, which the department creates annually, are for the Alaska resident population in 2016 and include updated estimates for years 2011 through 2015.
Governor Bill Walker today signed into law Senate Bill 30, which is expected to generate between $22 million and $27 million in revenue to the state. The legislation, which the governor introduced, approves a four-year contract in which the State of Alaska will sell royalty oil to Petro Star Inc.
The U.S. Senate last week unanimously passed the Save Our Seas (SOS) Act, legislation introduced by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) to address the global marine debris crisis. The bill would boost the federal government’s domestic and international response to ocean waste, and allow the NOAA Administrator to declare severe marine debris events and authorize additional funds to states, like Alaska, for cleanup and response efforts.