State of the State

 

Sean Parnell is setting a new deadline for progress on a major gas pipeline project in Alaska.

Parnell, in his fourth State of the State address last night, said he wants the companies involved in advancing the project to settle on a concept by Feb. 15.

It was in Parnell's State of the State speech last year that he set benchmarks for progress that helped jumpstart the seemingly stalled project.

The North Slope's three major players and TransCanada Corp. agreed to pursue a liquefied natural gas project that they have said could cost more than $65 billion but haven't announce specifics and haven't committed to build.

Oil companies want greater certainty on state oil and gas taxes.

Parnell urged lawmakers to act on changing Alaska's oil tax structure.

 

Gov. Sean Parnell wants to see Alaska's graduation rate increase by 20 percentage points in the next seven years.

Parnell told lawmakers last night during his address that the state's graduation rate remains under 70 percent.

He says that's a failing grade.

Parnell wants a new goal, a graduate rate of 90 percent by 2020.

He says reaching that goal will require raising expectations of both students and teachers.

He's also making childhood literacy another priority, and wants to improve reading instruction for kindergarten through third grade.

 

Gov. Sean Parnell is asking lawmakers to continue funding increases to law enforcement throughout the state as part of his efforts to curtail domestic violence, sex trafficking and sexual assault.

He has introduced a bill that would increase sentences for child pornography, and ensure sex traffickers serve their entire sentence, among other measures.

Parnell is asking lawmakers to pay for 15 additional Village Public Safety Officers for villages that don't have a law enforcement presence.

He's also asking the Legislature to fund 15 more Alaska State Troopers positions to cover areas where growth has strained resources: in Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula and Fairbanks.

 

And Gov. Parnell says Alaska's economy is strong, and called the state an "outpost of opportunity."

Parnell told lawmakers last night that people aren't just looking at Alaska, they're moving here, too.

He said between 2009 and 2011, more people moved to Alaska than any other period during the last 20 years.

Parnell says there's a good reason: Alaska is financially sound with billions of dollars in budget reserves.

He told lawmakers the question before them now is how to keep the state of Alaska strong.