The U.S. Senate is poised to pass a spending bill that includes more than $150 million for federal programs important to Alaska’s fishing industry and marine navigation.
It includes $4 million for electronic monitors for the fishing fleet. Alaska fishermen on small boats have asked for cameras as a substitute for some of the human observers that record catch data. Sen. Lisa Murkowski told her colleagues electronic monitors will allow the mission to continue while “recognizing that our small fishermen just simply cannot put another body on their boat as they’re out working.”
The bill also includes $25 million for sonar mapping of coastlines, with an emphasis on the need for more data on the Bering Straits and the Arctic. It has $6 million for removing marine debris, especially debris from Japan’s 2011 tsunami that washed up on federal land.
The bill funding commerce, justice and science programs passed the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. Both Alaska senators sit on that committee, and Murkowski sits on the subcommittee that drafted the bill.
- As the Legislature looks to close a nearly $3 billion gap between state spending and revenue, Southeast lawmakers say school funding shouldn’t be cut further.
- Forty JPD officers would be equipped with body cameras that would be funded by matching grants from CBJ Assembly and U.S. Department of Justice.
- The new White House took action on four measures Friday night, notably on the Affordable Care Act and regulations. The White House did not immediately make it clear what exactly was signed.
- One inauguration protest erupted into conflict; officers in riot gear sent a concussive device into the crowd of several hundred. The interim police chief says protests elsewhere have been peaceful.