In a significant exercise of executive authority, Governor Mike Dunleavy signed 12 executive orders this month, dissolving state boards and consolidating their functions within department heads. This action, constituting nearly 10% of all executive orders issued since Alaska’s statehood and equaling the total issued in the preceding two decades, has sparked both praise and criticism, prompting legislative scrutiny and industry pushback.
The executive orders automatically take effect in March unless disapproved by a joint vote of the Alaska House and Senate. This timeline has prompted immediate legislative review, with Senate President Gary Stevens acknowledging the unprecedented volume of orders: “We have never, in my experience, had 12 executive orders to deal with all at once.”
While some orders have garnered positive responses, others face opposition from affected industries such as those in Sitka. Among the boards slated for dissolution are those governing barbers and hairdressers, midwives, and those overseeing a state park and a bald eagle preserve. These affected groups, along with some legislators, are urging the governor to revoke or amend the orders, citing concerns about reduced oversight, public safety, and community representation.
Notably, the Governor’s office declined to provide an explanation for the orders or their origins. This lack of transparency further fuels concerns and intensifies legislative oversight efforts.
These are the 12 orders
No. 124 -The commissioner of fish and game has the authority to prohibit by regulation the live capture, possession, transport, or release of native or exotic game or their eggs.
No. 125 – The functions of the Alaska Council on Emergency Medical Services are transferred to the Department of Health, and the council is dissolved.
No. 126 – The functions of the Wood-Tikchik State Park Management Council are transferred to the Department of Natural Resources and the council is dissolved.
No. 127 – The Board of Massage Therapists is dissolved, and its authority goes to the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
No. 128 – The boards of the Alaska Energy Authority and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority are split into two separate boards.
No. 129 – The Board of Barbers and Hairdressers is dissolved, and its authority goes to the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
No. 130 – The Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives is dissolved, and its authority goes to the Department of Health.
No. 131 – The members of the state ferry operations board that under a 2021 law are appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives and Senate president will instead be appointed by the governor.
No. 132 – The Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Advisory Council is dissolved, and its duties will be taken over by the Department of Natural Resources.
No. 133 – The Criminal Justice Information Advisory Board is dissolved, and its duties will be taken over by the Department of Public Safety.
No. 134 – The Recreation Rivers Advisory Board is dissolved, and its duties will be taken over by the Department of Natural Resources.
No. 135 – The Alaska Safety Advisory Council is dissolved, and its duties will be taken over by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.