TALL TALES from Juneau
Eyes on the Dunleavy Administration
Chaos Rules the Day edition
Pre-filed bills are here!
BREAKING: SEX-ED IS BAD!
There’s no better way to get a sense of who’s where in the world of politics than to check out the list of “pre-filed” bills. Those are bills that lawmakers have been working on during recess that they file early, before the session begins. We just got a crop yesterday, and another batch will be coming Friday.
Democrats have a whole list of great bills dealing with preserving the PFD (Sen. Wielechowski), universal Pre-K (Sen. Kawasaki), crime bill reform (Reps. Fields/Lincoln), access to birth control (Rep. Claman), making sure rape evidence kits are tested (Rep. Tarr), bolstering public education (Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins), and more.
Republicans never seem to disappoint on the “social conservative” side. Our very own governor had his own little war against Planned Parenthood and sex ed a couple years ago. This year, the Dark Ages award goes to Rep. George Rauscher (R) who represents the vast swath of area from Delta Junction, down through parts of the Mat-Su Valley and ending in Valdez. He got Alaska Right to Life mad at him this election cycle for not being anti-choice enough, so now he’s trying to make up for it… check this out.
HB 7: "An Act relating to sex education, human reproductive education, and human sexuality education."
It's not as bad as it sounds... It's even worse! It not only mandates teaching that life begins at conception, it also requires teaching the "skills necessary for a student to remain abstinent" (!!!), and that "sexual activity out of wedlock is likely to have harmful psychological or physical effects." The bill does not make clear what those likely harmful effects actually are, but ironically it also mandates that what is taught needs to be "medically accurate." This ought to be entertaining.
Sex ed under Rauscher’s bill would also expressly forbid “instruction in or advocacy of homosexuality, gender identity or expression, or the use of contraceptive methods or devices.”
Step away from the banana kids, knowledge is dangerous! Surely if we just deny and ignore human sexuality, it will go away until the heterosexual wedding bells chime. Just like it always has throughout history. RIGHT?
If you want a good synopsis of all the prefiled legislation from yesterday, click HERE for an article from James Brooks at the Anchorage Daily News. It’s always good to look on akleg.gov too, and read the full language of the bill if it interests you.
SUPREME COURT DECISIONS AND MUSICAL CHAIRS
The Supreme Court has now ruled on the much-anticipated House District 1 race that had Bart LeBon (R) leading Kathryn Dodge (D) by one single vote. And at the end, he still led by one single voteand will be heading to Juneau replacing Scott Kawasaki (D) in that House District. Kawasaki has moved on to the Senate after roundly defeating Senate President Pete “the state should pay to put pregnancy tests in bar bathrooms and global warming is a hoax” Kelly (R).
Kathryn Dodge was a trooper throughout and ended up having a much more dramatic campaign than she could have imagined. We are disappointed she won’t be going to Juneau, but we thank her mightily for stepping forward and sticking it out to its conclusion.
Now, as for YOU in Fairbanks… yes you, the one in District 1 who didn’t vote this time. We stare daggers in your general direction and ask that you take a solemn vow to NEVER DO THAT AGAIN! If ever there were a state where one vote counts, this is it. No excuses next time!
Even though Bart LeBon came out on top, that still doesn’t mean we know anything about how the House will organize itself. The ballots weren’t even cold in the box when the Republicans in the House (who had previously been in the minority), held a press conference where they slapped each other on the back, beaming and giggling and announcing their “Majority” and how they would organize. Only one problem. They didn’t (and still don’t – even with Bart LeBon) have the 21 members necessary to form an actual majority caucus, or even to elect a Speaker. Details, details, right? It sounds good to them, so they just keep releasing statements and press releases in defiance of reality talking about their new phantom “Majority”- much to the amusement of political journalists and others who know how the government works.
What we do know is that Louise Stutes (R), Gabrielle LeDoux (R), and Gary Knopp (R), are NO way caucusing with the other Rs, so some kind of a bipartisan coalition will have to form. And also today the Governor just fired Joey Merrick, the husband of newly elected Republican Rep. Kelly Merrick from his position on the gasline board, replacing him with Republican retread, and former Anchorage Assembly Chair Dan Coffey. File that under “How to win friends and influence people.”
We’ll just have to wait, and watch while the drama unfolds. It’s a good time to buy popcorn stock.
GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS
In the spirit of tradition, I’ll give you the good news first: There will be far fewer crazy right-wing internet trolls on social media sites this session!
Bad news: it’s because they’ve all gotten state jobs staffing legislators. More to come as things become official, but it’s looking pretty off-the-rails.
START YOUR ENGINES!
And let’s not forget that the first day of the Legislative Session is Tuesday, January 15. Warm up your Gavel Alaska channel! There are many ways to stay connected to what’s afoot in Juneau, and here are some of the best:
Follow on Facebook:
Alaska Democrats(that’s us)
AK Coalition(the House bipartisan coalition as it stands now)
Follow on Twitter:
Follow the hashtag #akleg for legislative tweets
Follow #akgov for tweets about the governor/administration
The AK Dems Press Clips– A daily aggregate of 10-20 links to news stories, blog posts, and opinions (including a brief synopsis) focused on Alaska politics, and national politics. I do this, so you don’t have to wade through dozens of news sources to find the stuff you’re looking for. Enjoy perusing them over coffee in the morning, and be the most interesting person at the water cooler!
And, of course, if you find Tall Tales from Juneau worth passing on, you can suggest your friends subscribe to the Dems email list HERE, which will get you these periodic updates delivered right to your in box.
We’re in for a wild ride this session.