Actions Taken by the State Government
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by Alaska lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:
- HB 13 Prohibits state or city resources from being used to assist in creating a registry based on race or religion.
- HB 25 Would codify into Alaska law the current ACA requirement that contraception be made available cost-free.
Harmful bills proposed by Alaska lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:
- Bill prohibits cities and counties from becoming sanctuaries, criminalizes elected officials who create sanctuaries, and allows people to sue their city to ensure compliance.
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
Ways to Resist
Contact your elected officials:
- Governor, Bill Walker
- Lieutenant Governor, Byron Mallott
- Speaker of the House, Bryce E. Edgmon
Key Upcoming Elections
Click here to find out if you're registered to vote.
- Governors Race in 2018; Republican incumbent 
- Anchorage City Council elections on April 4, 2017 deadline to file February 1
- If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 49,000 people in Alaska (or 6.6% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 62,000 people (or 8.4% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/22/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.) This is because with a full repeal, premiums will not increase the way they would under a partial repeal, since insurance companies will be able to discriminate on the basis of preexisting conditions and won't be required to provide essential health benefits. Not covering preexisting conditions will disproportionately affect people with disabilities].
- Alaska is among the states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in Alaska could pay up to 32% more for the same coverage, compared to men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.
- Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 5,000 jobs could be lost in Alaska. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.
- 18 people have been killed by police in Alaska from 2013 through 2016.
- 11% of the people killed by police were black.
- Black people are 3.3 times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts.
- Anchorage is the state's largest city, with the highest rate of police killings per capita.
- In 2013, Alaska had 51,968 immigrants, making up 7.1% of the population.
- There are estimated to be 10,000 undocumented immigrants in Alaska, making up 1.3% of the population.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- Alaska does not allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers' licenses.
- Alaska does not allow undocumented immigrants to attend public college at the same in-state tuition rate as legal residents and citizens.
- In 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order (DACA) that defers deportation for children who were brought to the country as children. Te action allows them to work lawfully but does not create a pathway to citizenship or give them legal status in the United States. In Alaska, 130 individuals have benefited from this executive action.
- 2.4% of K-12 students in Alaska had undocumented parents in 2014.
- Undocumented immigrants in Alaska made up 1.9% of the labor workforce in 2014.
- If all undocumented workers were removed from Alaska, the state would lose $484.7 million in economic activity.
- Undocumented immigrants paid $3.4 million in state and local taxes in Alaska in 2012.
- Alaska has no cities or counties with sanctuary policies.
- Alaska resettled 141 refugees in 2014.
- In 2014, there were 2,818 individuals incarcerated in Alaska.
- 7,167 individuals were on probation, while 2,303 individuals were on parole.
- None of the incarcerated population are serving life sentences or life sentences without parole.
- The white and Hispanic imprisonment rates (per 100,000) are 278 and 148, respectively, while the black imprisonment rate per 100,000 is 1,053.
- 2.61% of the Alaska population is disenfranchised due to felonies, while 6.83% of the African American population of Alaska is disenfranchised due to felonies.
- In 2014, Alaska spent $377 million on corrections.
Benefits / Tax Cuts
- Alaska residents are facing a tax increase under Trump’s plan.
- Households: 23,000
- Adults and children: 67,000
- Children: 40,000
- In 2015, an average of 34,187 households and 81,121 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in any given month in Alaska. In 2011, approximately 12% of the population of Alaska was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps). The average monthly benefit was $392 per household and $165 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 8,142 households received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in any given month. The average benefit for a single parent with three children residing in Alaska was $923 per month in 2014. Average benefits in Alaska have fallen in value by 34.4% since 1996.
- In December 2015, there were 1,784 Social Security recipients in the "aged" category who received $341.37 per person on average, for a total of $609,000.
- 14,300 low-income families spent more than half their income on housing.
- In 2014, Alaska had 21 units of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of the area median income.)
- In Alaska, there were 1,940 homeless people in 2016.
- Of the homeless population, there were 135 families, 168 veterans, 154 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 122 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Alaska received $70 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In Alaska, more than 8,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all Alaska households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 24.2% of Alaska’s bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 49% of Alaska’s roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $359 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
- According to former Governor Sean Parnell (R), expanded ports, roads and railroads are major infrastructure goals for Alaska.
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- Alaska has four Planned Parenthood centers.
- In 2015, three centers were in rural, medically underserved, or health provider shortage areas.
- On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 36,750 women of reproductive age.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There were eight abortion providers in Alaska in 2015.
- In 2014, 8.3 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in Alaska had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- Mandated counseling includes misleading information.
- Medical abortion is limited.
Women and Wages
- In Alaska, 9.9% of women live in poverty. 26.6% are single mothers, while women age 65 and over make up 4.6%. This is below the national average, which is 36.5% and 10.3%, respectively.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.78, which is two cents below the national average of $0.80.
- African American women are paid $0.64 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.58 for every dollar made by white men.
Domestic Violence in Alaska
- 59% of women in Alaska will experience intimate partner or sexual violence in their lifetimes.
- About 30% of Alaskans were unable to access victim services or encourage others to do so due to a lack of services in their area.
- Alaska has the highest homicide rate for female victims killed by male perpetrator in the nation.
- More than three out of four American Indian and Alaska Native women are physically assaulted during their lifetimes.
Religious Freedom Law
Alaska does not have particular religious freedom laws. Religious Freedom laws protect the right of people to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. However, after same-sex marriage was legalized, conservative states have attempted to enact similar laws with provisions that allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.
Alaska lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, adoption, foster care, insurance, credit and jury selection, but has passed a nondiscrimination policy for state employees. In 2017, lawmakers will have the opportunity to vote to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's nondiscrimination law.
Alaska lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in some aspects of parenting laws, including second-parent adoption, surrogacy, foster care, consent to inseminate and de facto parent recognition, but has passed a bill granting parental presumption for same-sex couples.
Hate crime laws
Alaska also does not include LGBTQ+ people in its hate crime laws as a protected group, and doesn't have required reporting of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people.
Alaska does not have anti-bullying laws and does not require school suicide prevention policies. The state does not have laws promoting the inclusion of transgender youth in sports, nor laws protecting LGBTQ+ youth from conversion therapy or addressing LGBTQ+ youth homeless. The state does not have LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies and does not require LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education. The state does allow gender marker changes on drivers' licenses and birth certificates, but has passed transgender exclusions in State Medicaid.
- Alaska is ranked fourth in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $10,105 per student.
- As of 2013, Alaska ranked sixth in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $65,468 per year.
- 89% of students in Alaska attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private-school families earning on average 25% higher incomes.
- As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 4.7% of total public school enrollment.
- Alaska's overall graduation rate is 71%, which is below the national average. By subgroups, four-year graduation rates are as follows:
- White: 79%
- Latino: 66%
- Black: 70%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 74%
- American Indian: 55%
- Economically Disadvantaged: 60%
- Limited English Proficient: 32%
- Students with Disabilities: 42%
Consumer Protections /Workers' Rights
- Alaska’s minimum wage is $9.80, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, but many workers are excluded because they work for employers who are exempt from having to pay more than the federal minimum wage. Alaska's minimum wage is lower than its living wage of $11.57.
- Alaska has no state law for paid sick leave.
- Alaska has no state law for paid family leave.
- Alaska is a state with no Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state can not prohibit unions, that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers, from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. They are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- Alaska is a state with an at-will exemption. At-will means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
- Alaska also has a public policy exemption, meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- Alaska does allow for implied contract exemptions. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed-term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- Alaska does support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted this in different ways, including requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- About 60% of Alaska’s electricity generation is from fossil fuels, and 30% is hydroelectric.
- Alaska has six sites on the National Priorities List.
- Approximately 70% of Alaska’s land is federally owned.
- In 2014, the Black and Asian or Pacific Islander populations had the highest air pollution exposure indices—65 and 63—compared to an overall index of 43 and a White index of 41.
- In 2012, Latino and Black adults in Alaska were most likely to have asthma (12.2 and 11.1%), compared to 9.2% overall and 9.5% of the White population.
- The environmental agency in Alaska is the Department of Environmental Conservation.
- The Department of Environmental Conservation issues grants for clean water projects in the state.
- The Governor of Alaska has a Climate Change Sub-Cabinet that advises on the preparation and implementation of climate change strategy.
- Alaska passed a law in 2010 that sets the goal of generating 50% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
- Alaska has the 36th-highest percentage of disabled people in America: 11.6% of Alaska's residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
- Alaskans with disabilities have the ninth-highest employment rate in the country, at 42.4%, compared to the national average of 34.9%. People without disabilities in Alaska have a 71% employment rate.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1811]
- Approximately 12.8% of eligible voters in Alaska have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.71%.
- Of adults with disabilities in Alaska, 17.2% live in poverty, as opposed to 8.6% of nondisabled adults.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024] The poverty rate for disabled children under 5 is 0.3%, as opposed to 16.1% for nondisabled children.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18130]
- In Alaska, 4.6% of adults between 18 and 64 receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]
Find additional state/local chapters of national organizations People_and_Organizations#Organizations_with_State.2FLocal_Presences here.
- Alaska Progressive Action Network
- Alaska Progressive Caucus
- Alaska Progressive Network
- Progressive Alaska
Environmental and Environmental-Justice Advocacy and Organizing Groups
- Alaska Conservation Foundation
- Alaska Chapter of the Sierra Club
- Northern Alaska Environmental Center
- Alaska Wilderness League