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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

‘Recess’ won’t set GOP-led House back

by Shannyn Moore
ADN comment

I remember sitting inside during recess in fourth grade. Mrs. Henwood, my favorite teacher ever, was tough as nails. Her sparkly glasses and no-nonsense teaching made me adore and fear her at the same time. My times-tables were giving me fits. “You don’t come to school for recess, Shannyn, you’re here to get your work done.”

I learned more than my times-tables from her. Buckle down, get it done, then you play. When I’d passed all my timed tests she gave me a bag of jelly beans. I don’t like jelly beans, but it was still a fantastic prize.
Well, it’s recess time for the Alaska Legislature. That’s largely the result of a mass migration of lawmakers to Washington, D.C., for energy meetings, which has stalled all work in Juneau.

That’s not a big problem for the Republican-led House, which hasn’t been doing much of anything anyway. The House did pass a bill this week to bar protesters from funerals — as you know, funeral protests are one of the state’s more pressing problems.

I know of only one threat to protest a funeral in Alaska. The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., threatened to protest Sen. Ted Stevens’ service. But Alaskans let that sorry collection of anti-gay publicity hounds know how they would be received, so they decided to look elsewhere for mourners to torment.

Then there are license plates, another crucial state issue. Thanks to our Legislature we have almost as many “official state license plates” as we have roads. Yes, you can have NRA, pro-life, pro-choice, In God We Trust or any of many others because, apparently, bumper stickers just don’t cut it anymore.

When it comes to useless bills, Anna Fairclough set the standard a few years ago by trying to “(ban) the buying and selling of a movie action figure,” but there’s always the threat of a challenger.
The House Finance Committee is sitting on a box full of bills, ready to let them hatch if the Senate will only pass the governor’s multibillion-dollar oil tax giveaway, the infamous HB110.

Meanwhile, in the bipartisan Senate, it’s a different story. Bills have passed with modest increases to the base student allocation, expanded vocational education, suicide prevention efforts, pre-kindergarten programs across the state, forward-funding of education, improving nutrition in school meals and scholarships for students “getting their work done.”

Back in the House? There’s the Snow Classic, authorizing charitable gaming for four community schools. (Republican gambling on education seems so right — funding the future is a “sure thing.” Where’s the thrill?)

A Senate bill proposes building a gas pipeline from Cook Inlet to Fairbanks. Fairbanksans are still in the diesel dark ages. Other bills would allocate some of the bonanza brought by high oil prices to help Alaskans cope with staggering fuel bills.

The House? The majority wants to fund an ad campaign to open ANWR. Now there’s a new idea.

The Senate has passed five bills affecting health care for Alaskans. Senate Bill 74 requires insurance companies to cover autism. (Happily, one that hasn’t passed is a minority bill requiring that a woman undergo an ultrasound before an abortion. I don’t think they’ve decided yet whether a trooper actually needs to be on hand for the procedure.)

The House? Ban bath salts that people snort. I get how bad they are, but really, how far does this get us down the path to comprehensive health care? What about money to treat drug addiction, or alcohol rehab?

The Senate Military Affairs Committee acted swiftly to try to deflect attempts to close Alaska bases and to make veterans more attractive to employ.

The House contribution: “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.” Not kidding. Now don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful for the service of our Vietnam vets, but they all came home before I went to kindergarten. How about a bill to address the problem of homeless vets or the fact that suicide has killed more Vietnam vets than combat?

The Republican majority in the House is lucky Mrs. Henwood did her public service as an educator and not a legislator. Otherwise they’d be inside getting their work done. The Senate? Well, most of them would have jelly beans.



5 Responses to “‘Recess’ won’t set GOP-led House back”
  1. mike from iowa says:

    Be kind to dum banimals of the rwnj persuasion. Show them how an industrial strength trash-compactor works with them in it. Just so they don’t get lonely,toss in a few of their lobbying buddies. Then they will have first hand knowledge how stuff works and can write the appropriate legislation-in their next carnation. With this trash recycling is highly unnecessary.

  2. Elsie says:

    The abortion ultrasound reference reminds me of something that happened recently in Oklahoma, when one extremely aggravated state senator rebelled against a proposed senate bill that sought to define human life as beginning at the moment of conception, stating, “the unborn child at every stage of development (has) all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state.”

    This is where I first heard about it and which includes this comment:
    “And in Oklahoma, where men are men and sheep are scared, (Democratic Senator) Johnson added this amendment…..”

    Which links into this:
    “Brilliant Democratic State Senator Tacks ‘Every Sperm is Sacred’ Clause to Oklahoma’s Personhood Bill”

    • beth. says:

      Do these yahoos *ever* think things all the way through before they go off on their zealoty adamants?

      For starters: How soon after conception is the Social Security number iissued to this unborn child? Can’t do a darned thing in this state without a social security number… And are “all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state” just a blanket “all” or will there be age and nationality restrictions placed on those rights, privileges and immunities? Does unborn child get to vote? Enroll in public school? Hey, talibangelicalawmakers, could we get a bit of guidance here?

      ‘course then there’s that whole breathing thing, also and too… beth.

  3. Mo says:

    Maybe this would be an appropriate modification to SB 191, Alaska’s Ultrasound Rape bill.

    “Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) has introduced legislation regulating men’s access to erectile dysfunction drugs. The Dayton Daily News has the details:

    Before getting a prescription for V***** or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way.”

  4. OzMud says:

    Well geez, as long as you have gambling in schools and protest-free funerals you guys are good to go eh? BTW is it still illegal to sit on the sidewalks?

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