Thursday June 30th is Anniversary of Alaska Statehood Act

June 30, 1958 – Date of Senate passage of Alaska Statehood Act
July 7, 1958 – FDR signs Statehood Act
Jan. 3, 1959 – Alaska becomes 49th state

We're In Alaska Statehood passed by U.S. Senate

This  “We’re In” photo was taken on June 30, 1958 the day the U.S. Senate passed The Alaska Statehood Act.

The famous photo, above, was taken the next day after the paper was flown to Washington, D.C.

The Statehood Act didn’t go into effect immediately–Alaska actually became a state in January 1959.

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Today (June 30) is the anniversary of the day in 1958 when the U.S. Senate passed the Alaska Statehood Act which brought Alaska into the Union. The measure was signed by President Eisenhower on July 7, 1958 and Alaska became the 49th state on Jan. 3, 1959.

You’ve probably seen the famous statehood photo. The one of the big two-word headline: “We’re In.” That headline was printed on the cover of the Anchorage paper of that day.

Well, here’s an interesting tidbit you may not know about that photo—the one with the officials holding the newspaper.

While the headline was printed on June 30th, the photo itself was taken on July 1st—in Washington, D.C.

That could be arranged in this day of high speed jets and special courier services. But back in 1958, that was some feat.

Special editions of the historic paper were flown to Washington, D.C. by jet bomber for distribution to Washington officials.

There’s a photo in the Alaska Digital Archives of President Eisenhower and Alaska Territorial Governor Mike Stepovich holding a copy of that paper in Washington, D.C. on July 1st. The day after it was printed in Anchorage.

This week on The LegHead Report we’ll be remembering the signing of the Alaska Statehood Act with stories from our archives about statehood.

And speaking of Archives, the Alaska Digital Archives has a copy of the “We’re In” photo as well as thousands of others. The digital archives also has audio and video covering all periods of Alaska history.

Plan to spend a lot of time there if you go. There is so much to look at and enjoy.

Alaska Digital Archives

LNG Gasline closer to reality with passage of SB138

LNG Gasline closer to reality with passage of SB138

A long-time goal of building a large-diameter gasline to provide natural gas to Alaskans and a new petroleum product to export is closer to becoming a reality with the passage of Senate Bill 138.

SB 138 was a key priority for Governor Sean Parnell who called its passage a historic event and the beginning of the Alaska LNG Project. The measure also gives Alaska an equity-share in the gasline.

“Alaskans have waited a long time for a gasline,” he said.

Governor Parnell’s Comments

The governor speaking on SB 138 during his first ever Virtual Town Hall Meeting held April 16.

Passage of SB 138 is the first in a series of actions that must be taken over the next four to five years to allow for the development of Alaska’s North Slope natural gas resources.

That comes from a 24-page report produced for the legislature that analyzes, explains and discusses the key issues involved in building the LNG pipeline.

SB 138 both authorizes certain negotiations and provides a broad roadmap for how the Legislature will oversee and consent to these negotiations, the report summarizes.

  Currently, the project consists of three related mega-projects. They include:

  • a gas treatment plant on the North Slope,
  • an 800-mile large-diameter pipeline from the North Slope to Nikiski, and
  • an LNG export facility at Nikiski.
  • Another major component calls for at least five off-take points for gas consumption within the state.

If all goes well, the gasline could be completed by 2020.


Senate Passes Historic Legislation to Advance Alaska LNG Project

Frequently Asked Questions about the Alaska LNG Project report by Mayer & Tsafos

 Alaska Gasline Development Corporation Website

Top Photo: Courtesy ConocoPhillips

Alaska Legislature approves measure to help small refineries HB 287

House Bill 287 began as a way to help small refineries–namely Petro Star, which operates two refineries.
However, it ends up the measure helps the state’s largest refinery Tesoro.
Democratic Senators label HB287 “This Year’s Giveaway.”

A measure approved by the Alaska Legislature would help small refineries to stay in business by providing tax credits and subsidies.

House Bill 287 was created with the intention of helping Petro Star stay in business. Petro Star, which is a subsidiary of the Arctic Slope Native Corporation and owns two refineries had asked for assistance from the state.

The measure came under attack by critics because it doesn’t limit the financial help to refineries in need, thus making the state’s largest refinery in Nikiski—which is owned by Tesoro—eligible for the financial benefits of the bill.

In fact, HB 287 earned the distinction of being named “This Year’s Giveaway” by the Democratic Senators.

In a press availability held shortly after the end of the legislative session, Governor Sean Parnell avoided mentioning the controversy, and instead focused on the need to keep Alaska’s small refineries viable…

Gov. Sean Parnell’s comments…

Governor Sean Parnell commenting on HB 287.

Committee to take up Education Bill on Tuesday at 10

Committee to take up Education Bill on Tuesday at 10

Gavel Alaska is reporting Conference Committee on Education will continue meeting on Tuesday morning.

Retweeted by The LegHead Report
Gavel Alaska ‏@GavelAlaska 22m

Conference committee on education bill has been rescheduled to 10 am tomorrow. Senate & House meeting back up at 11 am. #akleg

#akleg  on Twitter is the place to go for latest updates on what is happening in Juneau. Alaska Legislature members and Alaska press are constantly posting update and info.

I’m sitting here listening to the Kodiak Island Borough School Board meeting which must OK a budget for next year tonight then meet with the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly on Thursday…Kind of challenging to present a reasonable budget while still waiting for legislature to approve school funding…Maggie

Photo from Alaska Democratic Caucus Facebook Page.

What legislators say about session and bills

See this article on How to Find Out Which Bills Got Passed.

A good way to track what got passed and what the various legislators think about the session and the issues they dealt with is to go to the four different caucus websites and read press releases, newsletter summaries being sent to constituents, as well as Twitter and Facebook posts.

Here are the links the four caucus groups in the Alaska Legislature.

House Majority Republican Caucus

Check out “Latest News” tab and also look at bottom of page for summary of most viewed, etc.  Usually, they post end of session press availability and assorted audio – video items under “Recent Media.”

This caucus site is the best for post-session press releases and bill summaries during the first few days after the session. Also it is the best site to follow for what bills have been signed by the governor, usually with a press release for each bill as it’s signed. Those often take several months to process, so bookmark the site and check back often.

This site tends to be the most active of the four in the off-session, interim months.

Also be sure to check those newsletters to constituents that summarize what happened in Juneau. They are some of the best sources of info in terms of being easy to understand. Also, you get background or “asides” from the legislators that you won’t get anywhere else.

  Senate Majority Republican Caucus

The Senate Majority also does a good job of posting press releases and updates on bill progress and signings after the session is over. Same with audio-video. And same as above for constituent newsletters.  Be sure to check the bottom of the home page for latest updates and “In the News” where you’ll find articles, etc. from Alaska media about what Senate does.

The House Minority and the Senate Minority

The Majority Caucuses have the money and the staff to do lots of press stuff, but the two minority caucuses generally have viewpoints and materials you won’t find anywhere else–partly because they don’t get the press coverage the majority does.

(The majority controls the legislature so most of the bills passed are majority bills, so that makes it a fact of political life, not necessarily a pro-Republican thing in terms of press coverage.)

The updates to constituents written by the minority legislators tend to have a totally different tone from those of majority legislators. Plus, the different perspective is refreshing–sometimes the only place you’ll hear many of these thoughts expressed are in the minority members’ letters to their constituents.

Alaska Senate Democrats News Room

The Senate Minority’s take on what happened in the legislature and perspectives on different bills.

Alaska House Democrats Website

This takes you to home page of House Minority’s website which includes recent press releases and commentary. The House Democrats are really good at Facebook and Twitter.

(They won my vote as a good source of info back in the beginning of the year when their Facebook post was virtually the only mention of the State of the State Address before it happened…Maggie)