Governor’s executive orders get rid of bureaucratic layers, and one splits AEA and AIDEA

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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.

26 COMMENTS

  1. One would have tolook at a budget that went up 1000 percent in the lasst 5 years. These power plants they are installing don’t have to be as large as they are because there is zero responsibility in the communities they serve to conserve electricity. This whole premise is nuts.

  2. Dunleavy the Crook. After Dunleavy will come a Governor that will do the opposite. Let’s look for that man or woman to change the negative work of this belligerent idiot. Hopefully, the legislative body will not allow this to happen. But, the reason for the raises last year is to allow him to do whatever he wants. All the loopholes in our laws structure needs attention for the future.

  3. Normally on favor of reduced bureaucracy but I don’t think the Midwives should fall under the department of health. Midwifery, is an alternative to the department of health preferences and should be kept separate.

  4. Department of Health over mid-midwifery and EMS? I foresee a bunch of human-hating edicts coming in the future for midwifery and EMS. Both will be mandated to start letting patients die instead of saving them.

  5. You got it wrong, Suzanne:

    “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.”

    These are only advisory boards – regulation is done by DNR. The Boards are diverse citizens who care about how our public lands are managed, and have a desire to weigh in on govt actions and in some cases overreach.

    Dunleavy has some ‘splainin to do: what’s wrong with citizen oversight of gov’t?

  6. Maybe all these changes are needed, but the legislature is probably going to bulk at anything taking away some of its turf. The fight is on! That said, the midwives should probably have their own board due to the animosity of the medical profession to them in spite of the need for them in Alaska.

    • Taking the control away from the people and handing it to a government agency? The control needs to be in the hands of the people. All of these “agencies” need to be torn down, removed from government hands and the communities/individuals need to take back control.

  7. Why not do away with many of those boards entirely?

    Oh, wait. Because that would make sense and save money.

  8. The Wood-Tikchik State Park Management Council and the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Council don’t “manage” anything – they are only citizen advisory boards. Why does the Gov have an issue with public scrutiny and advice on issues that may affect these areas?

  9. The licensed midwife board consist of 5 members not 7.
    2 CDM, CPM Licensed Midwives
    1 APRN, CNM Nurse Midwife
    1 MD, OBGYN
    1 Public Member

    So who is more qualified to govern and regulate midwives? Who serves on this “consolidated board”? What are their qualifications and training on maternity care?

  10. So there will be two board liaisons instead of one, and two spokespeople instead of one, two CFOs, etc.

    But much worse so far as increasing the number of state employees was splitting Health & Social Services in two. Now there are two commissioners instead of one. More deputy commissioners, more directors, more deputy directors, etc. And still no one can sign up new food stamp recipients fast enough to keep up even though the Anchorage Daily News says today there are two jobs in Alaska for every person looking for work.

    Splitting up agencies, creating new agencies and offices, and promising new programs – such as a state lumber grading office! – is not progress. Nor is it a worthwhile substitute for progress. We have 736,000 people living off 450,000 barrels of oil (daily). We have a past due public employee retirement liability of $6 billion for the defined benefit programs now closed, but legislators want to start a new defined benefit program (already passed the senate, I think). At least one new state holiday was recently added, and the normal state workweek is 37.5 hours.

    We are shipping out our workers but keeping our welfare teat-suckers, our retirees, and our governmental bureaucracies. Amazon continues to our replace brick and mortar retailers. We need an economy and all we see are press releases from government. We need leadership but we get press releases.

    • Dunleavy has several people in his pocket to keep the screw jobs against the state and trying to cover it up. He has used contracts, awards, positions, and people when and where he can. He uses clubs and groups and of course the “now” friends. He is in the mode of fraud, waste and abuse with all of them but you will have to pay for the problems. He surpasses all “worst” governors.

  11. FWIW, a group of midwives went to Juneau last year through their trade organization and worked with legislators (I believe Jamie Allard was one of them, but I could be wrong) on reforms. Considering that, this move is questionable and suggests tone-deafness on the governor’s part.

  12. There are currently 33 licensed midwives in Alaska not 43. There are also a few apprentices who currently hold apprentice permits.
    There are currently 9 free standing licensed birth centers in Alaska that have licensed midwives. (Not just CNMs)
    On average midwives deliver approximately 720 babies a year outside of hospitals. Every baby they deliver on DKC saves the state a minimum of 15% in just professional fees. A DKC home birth pays no facility fee, a hospital birth is tens of thousands of dollars.
    The licensed midwife board is funded by their licensing fees which have been as high as $3,800 for two years.
    Not sure how this EO is going to “save the state money.”

  13. FOLLOW THE MONEY
    I’m looking at a hospital bill for a non complicated birth billed to private insurance for $42,224. (This doesn’t include 9 months of prenatal or postpartum care)
    The average home birth fee for a licensed midwife and private insurance is $5,000. DKC will only pay the midwife $1,115.

    A non complicated vaginal birth without any medications or procedures that a licensed midwife can’t provide at a home birth could easily average $60,000 per birth in a hospital including all fees.
    Midwives perform an average of 700 of these births a year.
    That’s a potential loss of revenue to the “big medical corporations of approximately $42,000,000 annually.
    The same 700 births would pay a midwife $8,400 (private insurance in network) that’s $5,880,000
    If all 700 births were DKC the midwives would only receive a total of $4,823 per birth for a total of $3,376,000.
    Always follow the money!

  14. Hmm, I’m intrigued. I’m a massage therapist and know first hand that the massage licensing is a pain in the arse. $300 renewal every 2 years + paying hundreds for required continuing education hours, renewing certifications, sending in fingerprints every few years…..all while the trashy massage parlors are still operating in plain sight. The board was supposed to cut down on illegal practices, but instead makes it harder for and more expensive for legit massage therapists to continue to work.

    I wonder if this would hurt or help the industry.

  15. In 2022 (most recent statistics available) there were 720 babies born in planned out of hospital births by midwives. That includes home births and birth center births. Obviously that number fluctuates year to year. You can do your own research at health.alaska.gov

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