Gov. Mike Dunleavy has a dozen executive orders that he has sent to the Alaska Legislature. They were read into the record at the opening of the 2024 legislative session on Tuesday. Some are routine, but others are new.
One executive order splits the Alaska Energy Authority away from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, so it has its own dedicated energy board. Right now the two agencies share a board. AEA, which is larger than the Alaska Railroad, used to have its own board, until the Legislature combined the boards over a decade ago. These are two billion-dollar corporation that operate with a single volunteer board. AEA’s capital budget has increased over 1,000 percent in the last five years, which may have led to the need to separate the boards again.
Another executive order changes the Marine Highway Operations Board so that all the seats are appointed by the governor, and none by the Legislature.
The governor would also do away with three occupational boards that were created by the Legislature over the years. They are the Massage Board, Barbers and Hairdressers Board, and Board of Midwives. The massage field and hair professionals would be managed by regulation through the Department of Commerce, and the 43 midwives in the state would be also regulated by the Department of Commerce, rather than seven of their midwife colleagues. The Emergency Medical Services Council would also be regulated by the Department of Health as well, rather than through a citizen board.
The governor is getting rid of two legislatively designated park boards: The Wood-Tikchik State Park Management Council and the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Council. Both areas would be managed through the Department of Natural Resources, not by a separate board.
Separate boards require staff time and this may be a way to reduce bureaucratic layers.
These executive orders would go into law if not disapproved in a joint session within 60 days. The Legislature would have to muster 31 “no” votes to stop the governor’s executive orders.
Two years ago, the governor split the Department of Health and Social Services into two departments via executive order so that the Department of Health could have more focus.