JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - The Latest on Alaska Gov. Bill Walker's State of the State speech (all times local):
Gov. Bill Walker is outlining a plan to address the epidemic of opioid use in Alaska.
During his State of the State speech Wednesday night, Walker outlined five steps aimed at reducing the impact of the problem. Those include limiting the amount of opioids a doctor can prescribe, with some exceptions, and improving monitoring to prevent patients from pill shopping.
Walker says the ideas are based on the work of a task force and says he plans to refine the plan with lawmakers, the medical community and the public.
He also cited the challenges the state faces amid climate change. A spokeswoman for Walker, Grace Jang, said the Walker administration is planning to look at the impacts of climate change and how to address them.
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is urging lawmakers to work together to solve the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit.
Walker said compromise and leadership will be critical in efforts to pass a fiscal package this year.
During his State of the State address Wednesday, Walker said this isn't the time for political brinksmanship. He said it's time to look at the kind of future Alaskans want and deserve.
Legislators began a new session Tuesday with a sense of urgency amid the continued draw-down of savings. Gridlock marred last year's regular and special sessions and the issues hotly debated then remain the same. Those include taxes, use of earnings from Alaska's oil-wealth nest egg to help pay for state government and the degree of ongoing budget cuts.
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has outlined the toll that the state's budget deficits are causing residents.
The state health department has had its budget cut 13 percent, meaning more than 2,000 Alaska families are not getting help to heat their homes.
He says budget cuts will force the closure of seven Alaska State Trooper posts by the end of the year even as the crime rate remains high. Six public health centers, one correctional facility, two youth detention centers and many job centers also have been closed.
Alaska also is selling off state assets like search-and-rescue aircraft and ferries, and considering more items to sell to help reduce the multibillion-dollar deficit.
By this time next year, Alaska will have 3,000 fewer state employees than when Walker took office.
He's proposing the state find ways to bring in more revenue, including taxes.