Ballot initiatives regarding the minimum wage, salmon fisheries in Bristol Bay, and pot legalization were originally expected to take place during Alaska's August primaries. However, due to the slow pace of legislative process, those initiatives are now slated for Alaska's general election in November.In short, Big Oil didn't want those three progressive ballot initiatives on the same August primary ballot with an already-scheduled initiative to increase oil industry taxes, so it leaned on its puppets in the legislature to delay scheduling the Pot, Pebble and Pay initiatives so they would take place in November instead. With no big Democratic primary battles, Big Oil wanted to make sure that (Democratic-leaning) young voters, environmentalists, and working class voters had little reason to turn out in August.
But while the pot and Bristol Bay initiatives were a done deal and moved to November, there was still a question about the minimum wage one. You see, under state law, Alaska's legislature can kill a ballot initiative by passing legislation that addresses the same issue as the proposed initiative. And Republicans had a sham minimum wage bill ready to go, passed by the House, and sitting in the Senate's rules committee.
But on late Friday, the Senate adjourned without passing the minimum wage bill, and that initiative will now help drive Democratic voters to the polls in November. Republicans in the state legislature literally traded their state's U.S. Senate seat for lower oil extraction taxes. That's certainly a deal I'm happy to take.
So what else passed while those Republicans were busy helping Democrats win in November? Why, another Bridge to Nowhere, actually. Alaska Republicans, those paragons of self-sufficiency and small-spending government, moved forward with plans for a $1.9 billion bridge to, well, nowhere.
Quite the metaphor for the entire Republican Party, actually.
[update: Edited final paragraph, as this is a new bridge to nowhere, not the same as the old one.]