Alaska did not receive any money in the Sandy relief bill that cleared the Senate Monday night.
The bill did include a provision that will allow tribes to directly apply to the federal government for future disaster aid.
A governor needs to request a federal disaster declaration for any issues in a particular state. Senator Mark Begich says that’s changing for tribes.
“It basically gives the tribes, in this case the federal government who recognizes them as a government, a direct request,” Begich said.
The relief bill is designed to pay for Hurricane Sandy aid, not set policy. But tucked inside is a major change in protocol.
Tribal leaders can now appeal directly to the federal government for a disaster declaration – bypassing the state. Robert Holden is the deputy director of the National Congress on American Indians. He says there has been a history of governors ignoring disasters in Indian Country, so this is a welcome change.
He says not every tribe has the resources to do proper damage assessments and appeal directly to the federal government.
“That doesn’t preclude them from still working with the state and going through the state,” Holden said.
So the current method of having a governor declare an emergency on behalf of a tribe or region can still apply to those who need it.
- There has been no sign of progress in resolving the state's budget crisis. Special sessions typically cost $20,000 to $30,000 each day.
- Reliable food sources are more important to Steller sea lions than abundant prey.
- The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the GOP's Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill would also reduce the deficit and leave some sick Americans unable to buy coverage.
- A 60-year-old Juneau woman came home Tuesday night to find her door forced open, according to a Juneau Police Department news release. She chased two men out of her home, and then continued after them giving police updates on their location until their arrest, according to the police.