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September 22, 2021

Dumpster Fires & Middle School Spats

WAR OF THE MIDDLE SCHOOLERS  

The Middle-School-style social media spat between anti-masker Sen. Lora Reinbold and the Governor’s office (in which they are both losing and that’s fine with us) has claimed a new victim. Former sycophantic right-wing radio hack, Dave Stieren, who is now making six figures working for the governor’s ham-fisted communications team has received a smack-down.

Sen. Reinbold made a post on her official page complaining about the fact that she’d been fined $250 for taking her mask off during a meeting, and that therefore she was a victim of the “mask tyranny” being “pushed” by leadership, and blamed the governor’s mask mandate in public buildings.

Stieren popped up with a “Fun Fact” and it all went downhill.

Here’s the ridiculous exchange. Apparently Lora Reinbold AND Senator Lora Reinbold both think Dave Stieren is a clueless troll. While we do not disagree, it sure would be nice if our elected leaders and executive branch staff weren’t acting like 12-year olds.


STRIPPING RIGHTS OUT OF THE CONSTITUTION??

TODAY at 1:30pm you have an opportunity to testify on a Resolution put forth by Shelley Hughes who talks a big game about how she loves and respects the Constitution and individual freedom. In this resolution she proposes a Constitutional Amendment which would actually remove an existing right. That’s not usually how it works.

This Resolution has already had a hearing and passed out of the Health & Social Services committee with yes votes from Sens. Mia Costello (R-West Anchorage), David Wilson (R-Wasilla), and Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer). 

Abortion in Alaska is legal, and has been before it was legal on a national level. 63% of adults said in a poll by the Pew Research Center that this is good and that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. We were one of only four states to make abortion legal between 1967 and 1970, years before the US Supreme Court‘s decision in 1973’s Roe v. Wade ruling. The strong privacy clause in our state constitution made that possible. But now after almost 50 years, Republicans believe their own personal and religious opinion is more important than 50 years of settled law under the Constitution.

SJR4 will be heard in the Judiciary Committee on Friday at 1:30. If you would like to testify, call the relevant number and tell them you’d like to testify on SJR4.

In Juneau – 907-586-9085 
In Anchorage – 907-563-9085 
Anywhere else in the state – 844-586-9085


HECK, IT’S ONLY MONEY!

Speaking of unconstitutional legislation, David Wilson (R-Wasilla) couldn’t resist some grandstanding in the Senate Finance committee on Wednesday, and it’s likely to cost the state hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. Wilson, who had plenty of Republican challengers from the right this last election, is out there doing his due diligence to sound as conservative as possible – at the expense of the state. He wants a special amendment that says none of the federal covid money the state receives can go to fund abortions. There are a few things to consider here which were raised by Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage).

1) The thing Wilson is proposing is unconstitutional according to the Legislature’s very own lawyers (who were on the phone during the meeting to confirm this for all to hear).

2) There’s already a law in place that would likely bar this anyway.

3) The state, under Republican leadership, has already passed multiple other unconstitutional abortion-related bills, been taken to court, and the state has lost EVERY TIME, and had to pay legal fees for the side bringing the suit against their unconstitutional behavior. This list is from Legislative Research Services:Planned Parenthood vs. State – $541,000.Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest vs. State of Alaska – $2.183 millionState v. Planned Parenthood $23,000 plus another $940,000State vs. Planned Parenthood $159,000 State Department of Health and Social Services vs Planned Parenthood $452,000 

TOTAL: $4,298,000. wasted on knowingly unconstitutional legal action related to abortion

Despite all of this, the unconstitutional and fiscally irresponsible amendment passed and will be included in the legislation that passes out of the Senate FINANCE Committee. Money, shmunny. The irony never ceases.


GET YOUR KICKS BY EXPANDING VOTING RIGHTS (or something like that)!

House Bill 66, Rep. Chris Tuck’s (D-Anchorage) Election Reform bill was heard and took public testimony in the House Judiciary committee this week. Quite a few people called to testify – more for the bill than against.

Celeste Hodge Growden, the President of the Alaska Black Caucus, gave testimony reminding everyone that being able to get to the polls whenever you want to is a privilege, and so is something as simple as having a stamp. It may be easy for some of us, but it isn’t easy for many. She spoke in support of the bill which will make casting a vote easier so that all Alaskan voices can be heard and counted. And that’s really the point of this whole “democracy” thing!

But as usual, there were a couple VERY loud squeaking wheels. For instance…”This is Mike Coons, I am speaking for myself and I AM privileged. I have scanned through HB66 and this has zero to do with effective election reform. Why do we need to cure ballots, like Pennsylvania did only for Democrats and not for Republicans? I’m so tired of the socialist left pushing for weakening our elections so that more and more votes can come in to support socialism and for reps and senators that support socialism. .. And by the way, I am privileged to be an American and an Alaskan and unlike the NAACP and the Black Caucus testifier that pulled the race card! Notice I didn’t say my race. I’m sure that this committee will disregard my and other testimonies and will pass it out of committee, and the socialist majority in the House will vote for HB66.”

We should point out that while Mike Coons said he was testifying “for himself,” he was also appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy to sit on the Alaska Council for Aging. We should also point out that many of the provisions in HB66 will directly benefit seniors who can find it more difficult to vote in person, find a witness, or sometimes even find a stamp. If you want to listen to the whole thing you can find it HERE

[This is Mike Coons, whom Dunleavy appointed to the Alaska Commission for the Aging, at a crowded and maskless Mat-Su candidate forum last year sharing droplets with seniors telling them that as long as they stayed away from young kids and bars they’d be fine.]


SENATE BILL 39 (The “Voter Suppression Bill”)

Lots of you are following this one, and we finally have some information. After the atrocious first iteration of this bill had a hearing, followed by swift and forceful backlash from Alaskans, it sort of disappeared for a while to undergo a rewrite.

Then a couple days ago Senator Mike Shower (R-Wasilla) made an announcement that everyone was going to be super excited about this new bill because it was totally different than the old bill and that these changes happened in order to “dispel the myths” that were circulating. We don’t know what that means either. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

But the new bill was presented today, with 63 sections that need to be examined and picked apart before we understand fully what this bill would do. We DO know that the portion of the old bill that told municipalities they couldn’t do mail-in voting, and that received the most criticism, has been removed – but if municipalities want to avail themselves of any state resources to hold their elections, they’ll have to comply with a bunch of new rules and procedures.

It also creates: new crimes including falsifying a reason for why you couldn’t get a witness signature on your absentee ballot, processes including multi-factor authentication, and lots of other things that need to get sorted out in the coming days. Shower said they are still working on amendments, so there’s even more we don’t know yet. 

Right now, it looks like public testimony on this gargantuan and complex bill is scheduled for Tuesday… That seems a little ambitious, but we’ll keep you posted on the @AlaskaDemocrats Facebook page to see if that stays on track, and for details on how you can testify.


HOW DO I KEEP ALL OF THESE BILLS STRAIGHT AND FIGURE OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Glad you asked! Did you know that there’s a thing called the Bill Tracking Management Facility (BTMF)? It allows you to track the status of bills as they pass through the legislative process. BTMF will display the status of bills you are interested in, and can also send you email updates as the bill’s status changes. If you follow along, you can find out when hearings are, when you can testify, when it is voted out of committee and on to the next one, and when it will be voted on.

BTMF is a free service and only requires you to set up an account HERE.

Then just enter the name of the bill (SJR1, SB39, HB66, SJR4, etc.) and you’re on your way to being informed!


FOUR FOR FOUR!

The Anchorage School Board races were close but they all turned out well! The Anchorage Democrats went 4 for 4 with their endorsements!​ A huge congratulations to: (drumroll)

Carl Jacobs, Kelly Lessens, Pat Higgins, and Dora Wilson! Well done and well run.

Hopefully the Anchorage Dems endorsement for Mayor goes the same way. Speaking of which…


ANCHORAGE MADNESS – MEET DAVE BRONSON

Since no one candidate in Anchorage’s recent mayoral election got more than 45% of the vote, there is going to be a runoff election on May 11. This one will also take place by mail, and ballots will drop somewhere around the end of April so watch your mail and don’t throw your ballot away by accident!

If you’re still on the fence about who to vote for 😉 or if you don’t think you need to vote and corral everyone you know to get to the polls, here’s a little taste of what the Anchorage Municipality would be facing for the next THREE YEARS if you don’t.

There’s a little intro, but we’ll be sharing more of what we’ve found out about Dave Bronson, the man who wants to sit at the helm of Alaska’s largest and most diverse city with fully half its population.

Or if you and everyone you know gets out and votes, we could have this guy instead. Your choice!


CAUGHT ON CAMERA!

Also, Bronson’s supporters (we presume) have taken to vandalizing and stealing the campaign signs of the Anchorage Democrats’ endorsed candidate in this race, Assembly Member Forrest Dunbar. This has been happening for months. The Dunbar campaign finally had to resort to putting up cameras and came up with an image of the offender (or at least one of them) and the vehicle. If you know who this is, or recognize the truck, please contact APD as soon as possible!


AND FINALLY…

Finally, for some very interesting new developments in Dave Bronson world, check out:

1) This press release from the Dunbar campaign about some MAJOR hinky doings in the Bronson campaign’s finances and disclosure.

2) This breakdown from The Blue Alaskan on what it all means. 

3) And this just posted by the Dunbar campaign

If this fiscal dumpster fire is how Bronson runs his own campaign, can you imagine how he’d run a city? Yikes!


NEXT WEEK

We’ll see lots more activity in the legislature as bills work their way through committees, and as the House and Senate Finance committees continue their work to hone a budget in the coming weeks.

Thanks for staying engaged and informed and sticking with us through what feels like the longest election season and longest winter and longest legislative session ever! To help us keep doing what we do, don’t forget that a little of your support goes a very long way. You can toss something in the tip jar HERE.

Enjoy the lengthening days and the rising mercury!

Until next week,

Jeanne

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Comments
One Response to “Dumpster Fires & Middle School Spats”
  1. Jeff says:

    Could someone please teach either Lora Reinbold or Senator Lora Reinbold the difference between “site” and “cite”?

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