Monthly Archives: June 2006

Alaska Voting Machines Vulnerable to Fraud

The Verified Voting Foundation “champions reliable and publicly verifiable elections in the United States.” In addition, the foundation advocates “the use of voter-verified paper ballots (VVPBs) for all elections in the United States, so voters can inspect individual permanent records of their ballots before they are cast and so meaningful recounts may be conducted.” The foundation also believes that “electronic voting equipment and software be open to public scrutiny and that random, surprise recounts be conducted on a regular basis to audit election equipment.” Here are the first two paragraphs from a press release issued June 8, 2006 by the Verified Voting Foundation: Read the rest of this entry

Update: Public Employees and Teachers Retirement

During the last year I have written a number of blog entries regarding Senate Bill 141 and the destruction of the Public Employees Retirement System and the Teachers Retirement System in the state of Alaska. I would like to give you an update now about the status of Senate Bill 141. This update comes from the most recent issue of RPEA news and was written by Sam Trivette, President of RPEA. I would like to add here that RPEA and Sam Trivette have been in the forefront of the fight against SB 141 in the attempt to protect the retirement for thousands of future public employees and teachers in the state of Alaska, and their families. Read the rest of this entry

Report From the Citizens Health Care Working Group

This is most interesting…

About the Working Group

As part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act Of 2003, the U.S. Congress created the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group.

Selection of the Working Group:

* As set forth in Public Law 108-173, Sec. 1014, the Working Group is made up of 14 members selected by Comptroller General of the U.S. David Walker. By law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) serves as the 15th member.

* Comptroller General Walker chose the 14 members of the Working Group from among more than 530 applicants – selections were announced Feb. 28, 2005.

* None of the appointees are current or former elected officials or registered lobbyists. In addition, only one of the 14 appointees is from the Washington, D.C. area.

* The members represent many regions of the country and a broad range of health care perspectives, including consumers, providers, employers and workers.

* The appointments include people with personal experience or expertise in paying for benefits and issues of access to care. Read the rest of this entry

Alaska's People, Economy, and Resources

Here is a link to the latest socioeconomic research publication from UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER). It is a comprehensive yet concise overview of many of the facts of Alaska that underlay the public policy issues that affect us all.

ISER Research Matters No. 15. Understanding Alaska: People, Economy, and Resources
June 13, 2006

ISER’s newest publication may not tell you everything you always wanted to know about Alaska—but it will tell you a lot about the state’s people, economy, and resources. It’s an 18-page summary of research under a special ISER program called Understanding Alaska. That’s a series of studies intended to help Alaskans understand how the economy works and how it might grow in the future. The work is funded by the University of Alaska Foundation. Among other things, the summary includes:

An overview of how and why Alaska’s economy has changed since statehood
A description of who Alaskans are, where they live, and how they are changing
Projections of likely rates of future population and job growth
A look at the implications of farmed fish and globalization for Alaska’s wild seafood
Click here to see Understanding Alaska: People, Economy, and Resources. You can also call ISER (907-786-7710) for a copy.

Comments on the Proposed Gas Pipeline Fiscal Contract

I reprint here with permission some particularly insightful, well informed comments submitted as public testimony at hearings on the gas pipeline fiscal contract. The comments were written by Eric Larson, a local, well respected economist.

The fiscal certainty clause in Article 11, section 1 of the proposed fiscal contract raises two important Constitutional issues:

1) Can the Legislature limit the taxing authority of future Legislatures?
2) Can the Legislature limit the taxing authority of the voter initiative process?

In his testimony before the Legislature on May 10, the Attorney General offered his legal opinion that Read the rest of this entry