TALL TALES from Juneau
Eyes on the Babcock/Dunleavy administration
START YOUR ENGINES EDITION!
THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE…
The 31st Legislature begins today, and disarray is the name of the game in the House. We still have no majority caucus, and therefore no committee assignments, no staffing certainty, and no Speaker of the House to run the floor session or assign bills to committees. The way past the impasse is either for a reorganization of legislators into a caucus of those who are actually concerned with governing, or some kind of shared leadership. Otherwise, here we sit. In the meantime, we expect Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer to appoint a Speaker pro tem until a permanent speaker is in place who can receive the 21 votes necessary to confirm them. The details will reveal themselves soon, and here's a good explanation of the details from Andrew Kitchenman at Alaska Public Media.
MEET THE NEW BOSS, SAME AS THE OLD BOSS
No such turmoil in the Senate. The Republicans still have a clear majority, and Cathy Giessel prepares to take the helm as President of the Senate. Pete Kelly no longer has that title since he was shown the door by new incoming Democratic Senator Scott Kawasaki. (We like to remember that whenever possible). But we can still say that the Senate President is a climate change denier with theocratic tendencies, and no basic comprehension of science, but hey – at least it’s a fresh face, right? <--- sarcasm
THAT WAS FAST
It didn’t take long for the Mike Dunleavy/ Tuckerman Babcock team to raise the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union. They must have missed the memo that the First Amendment is supposed to protect individuals from the wrath of the government when they share political opinions about the President on their own time. Assistant AG Libby Bakalar and two others are suing the administration for wrongful termination. And YES Republicans, they are “at will” employees, but that darned Constitution of the United States of America trumps that. Sorry. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED
Speaking of Tuckerman Babcock, the Dick Cheney of the current administration showed up in an unlikely venue last week – the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. During their weekly Forum, guests from the community are invited to address the Fellowship on a variety of topics. Babcock was the speaker, and boy did they get an earful. If you missed the chilling synopsis from Charles Wohlforth, check it out HERE. Babcock said there are going to be a lot of unhappy Alaskans by the time the governor gets finished with the agenda they voted for. And please note where it says that Dunleavy won’t be appearing in public very often. (?!) I guess the man behind the curtain will be telling us all we need to know.
CHECK YOUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS AT THE DOOR
Continuing the smack-down of the First Amendment, the following memo was sent to “All Members of the Press” from Sen. John Coghill (R-North Pole), the Rules Chair.
This was posted to Twitter from Sean Maguire at KTUU. Nothing says welcome to Juneau like curtailing the press from using their normal channels to report what the government is doing, and threatening to revoke their access if they don’t comply.
WE'VE GOT WHAT YOU NEED!
The Senate will gavel in today, Tuesday, January 15, at 11:00 a.m. The House follows at 1:00 p.m. You can follow along today and every day during session at 360north.org by clicking the "Watch Live" icon, or click the GAVEL button and select Archives to watch later.
· If you want to see when floor sessions are scheduled in the Senate and House, click HERE.
· The daily schedule of committee meetings is HERE.
· And if one or more of those bills interests you and you want to read the whole thing, just enter the bill number in the search bar at the top of the page HERE.
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Here we go, troops! Stay strong, and stay tuned.