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October 26, 2021

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He’s Baaa-aaack!

Remember the old Gov. Mike Dunleavy? Did you think the massive recall effort against him woke him up and that maybe he was trying to be more cooperative, more reasonable, less hatchety? Silly you.

The governor has red-lined the legislature’s budget and released his own version. It cuts the Permanent Fund Dividend, foster care programs, ferry funding (Guess the Marine Highway System isn’t quite dead after his last attempt), and lots of other things. Will the legislature (who struggled to get THIS budget passed) be able to override any of these vetoes? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Here are the quick hot takes from last night’s revelation from elected officials, and others of note.


BULLET DODGED

So, the bar was set pretty low, but the silver lining of the week was that at least we didn’t have a government shutdown. But it wasn’t for lack of trying for some Republicans.

After Republicans in the House minority held the budget hostage by voting FOR the budget, but then voting NO on the date the budget would go into effect (aka the effective date), bringing us right to the edge of government shutdown, a few finally relented and changed their votes to vot FOR the effective date. So after an unnecessary hair-raising, two-week Republican joy ride, the effective date of the budget was passed right before disaster.

What were they holding out for? Well, now there will be a ‘working group’ established with all four caucuses (Senate Majority and Minority, and House Majority and Minority) where they will talk about how to figure out the PFD, and the rest of the unfinished business that will get settled (we hope) in a special session in August, but nothing is actually binding… 

More likely it’s because if a slate of mostly Anchorage Republicans had continued with this brinksmanship and shut the state down, they’d risk losing their seats in 2022, whereas the fringe minority Republicans could still get away with voting no because their base, too, is all for a government shutdown.

And if you’re wondering where this leaves Rep. Sarah Rasmussen (R-Anchorage) who decided she’d like to not join with anyone and be a shining caucus of one – the answer is, not at the table. Sorry Sand Lake, you’re not in the discussion!

The people’s names you see on this vote board in red, representing the Kenai, Tok, the Mat-Su, North Pole, Homer, Valdez/Delta/Sutton, were the hold outs. The ones who voted for Alaska to shut down, lay off State of Alaska employees amounting to about 8% of the state’s workforce, close parks during tourist season, and a host of other disasters. That was their position until the end.

The ones who just wanted to terrify people for a couple weeks before eventually caving in so their constituents wouldn’t replace them in 2022 are: Rep. Laddie Shaw (R- South Anchorage), Rep. James Kaufman (R-Anchorage Hillside), Rep. Tom McKay (R-South Anchorage), Rep. McCarty (R-Eagle River), and Rep. Tilton (R-Palmer). 

If you totally hated the unnecessary nail-biting clown show this year, just wait. Whether this kind of thing becomes a regular occurrence or not is going to depend on the outcome of a lawsuit which will determine whether the “effective date clause” which gummed it all up in 2021 will be business as usual going forward. We’re going to find out whether this effective date clause vote was even relevant in the first place, or whether Dunleavy simply could have signed it and we all moved on.

The Alaska Constitution prohibits the governor from suing the Legislature, but Dunleavy is trying to worm his way around that by having Attorney General Treg Taylor sue the Legislative Affairs Agency – the employees of the legislature who keep things running and are not politically affiliated. 

Matt Buxton explains:Why [the lawsuit] matters: If the court rules and rules in the governor’s favor, the Legislature’s budget process could be turned on its head. Though attaining an effective date vote has been done in previous budgets without much heartache, it has not been a target to leverage the Legislature let alone push the state so close to a shutdown. It would be a combination of the increasingly shutdown-happy politics and a firm line in the sand on the effective date that would set up a situation where near-shutdowns could become the norm. The Legislature would either have to effectively reach a supermajority vote on every budget, finding themselves beholden to the minority, or find a way to pass the budget at least 90 days before the start of the fiscal year. That would put passage of the budget in April, but that would also require a governor be on board with the process. Even in that situation, a governor could draw out the process at least 15 days (not including Sundays) by refusing to sign the budget or vetoing it altogether.”

Fingers crossed that Republican political pink slips go the way of the dodo, and don’t become a regular occurrence every year.


WE DID NAZI THAT COMING… THAT’S NOT TRUE, WE TOTALLY DID.

What is it about comparing things to the Holocaust that Republicans just can’t seem to resist? First it was Rep. Ben Carpenter (R-Kenai) who got his name all over the national press by saying 1) covid screening was like marking Jews for extermination, and 2) Hitler wasn’t a white supremacist, he was just scared of Jewish people and that made him do bad things.

Now, it’s Rep. Ron Gillham (also R-Kenai) who just posted something on his Facebook wall that defies belief. Here’s the headline and intro from the article in the Kenai Peninsula Clarion.

For those who want to see the image itself and a description click HERE. This link will also explain why the original post itself was designated as “misleading.” 

“It’s just one of those things that comes around, and you just send it around,” the Kenai lawmaker said.

At least five people shared Gillham’s post, and one commenter actually said of the post, “History should repeat itself.” The image was left up on Gillham’s wall for several days before being scrubbed. When asked why he removed the post, he replied, “No reason.”

And yes, just like his fellow Kenai Republican Ben Carpenter, Ron Gillham has now made the national news for inappropriate Nazi comparisons.

The post above was certainly the most offensive, but not the only anti-public health, anti-vaccine Facebook post on his wall. Gillham was one of only two legislators that said he will not be getting vaccinated and not surprisingly, he got “the COVID.”

“I had the COVID. I lost my sense of smell and taste. That’s it. Never got sick,” he told Alaska Public Media.

And then there’s this one, whatever this means.

And finally, we’d like to put Rep. Gillham’s mind at ease. The “One World Alliance” that Alaska Airlines just joined is not a secret socialist cabal of globalist pedophiles trying to microchip you and steal your freedom. But, according to their website, you do get to use your frequent flier miles to “enjoy an array of special privileges and rewards, which include earning and redeeming miles and points on all 14 oneworld member airlines!”

So, sit back, enjoy your fruit and cheese tray, take a deep breath, and stop being part of the problem. 


IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED IN VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION YOU SWORE TO UPHOLD, TRY, TRY AGAIN

Come with me in the political time machine for a moment. Don’t worry, it’s a short trip. Remember back in 2019 when the new governor, Mike Dunleavy, was supposed to appoint a Supreme Court Justice? The way the constitution works is that we have a panel called the Alaska Judicial Council who painstakingly and in a non-partisan way reviews potential candidates for that seat. They choose (at least two) of the best applicants, and forward those names to the governor. The governor then chooses from the list. And that’s how it works. This is how we preserve an independent judiciary and not a political one – hand-chosen by whoever happens to be the governor.

Well, back in 2019, Dunleavy REFUSED to pick from the list. He knowingly went past the 30 day limit and continued to leave the seat vacant. He wanted his own partisan choice, even though that choice scored lower than the ones he was given by the Judicial Council. It was SO bad, that this action is one of the reasons for the recall against him.

One would think he would have learned, but one would be mistaken. Check this out.

The Governor would prefer his own less-qualified, lower-rated, more-partisan choice in the hopes of leaning the court to the right. So, he wrote a letter complaining and asking them to change their minds and sabotage the intent of the Constitution. He’s got 9 days left to choose until we face yet another constitutional crisis. #ThanksDunleavy

*By the way, the newest member of the Judicial Council is the also hyper-partisan Kristie Babcock, wife of Dunleavy’s also hyper-partisan disgraced former Chief of Staff and Republican Party Chair Tuckerman Babcock.

House of Cards has nothing on us.


APOC TARS AND FEATHERS “SPEAKER PRUITT” IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE

Remember when the GOP blog was all gushy about the future “Speaker Lance Pruitt” and then Dr. Liz Snyder ousted him from his seat? We remember that too.  

The Alaska Public Offices Commission was investigating several complaints filed against Mr. Pruitt, and finally came to conclusions that were as blistering as the last week’s weather in the Pacific Northwest. 

[If Lance Pruitt were vinyl siding & APOC was 118 degrees in Portland]

People sometimes say APOC is “toothless” but let me tell you, they were being pretty darn toothy when it came to shredding Pruitt’s unsavory, shady, and downright illegal behavior in managing his last two campaigns. 

The Blue Alaskan tells the whole story HERE, and suffice it to say that Pruitt racked up almost A MILLION DOLLARS worth of offenses, but gets to pay the bargain basement rate of $19k+. In APOC world this fine is HUUUGE.

And for those wondering if the excoriation mentioned the fact that he did not disclose the client list for his wife, Mary Ann Pruitt, the former communications person who made $15,000 a month working for Governor Dunleavy, yes. Yes, it did. Dermot Cole breaks it down:Mary Ann Pruitt is a former public relations consultant whose clients have included Gov. Mike Dunleavy. She is the director, president, shareholder, secretary, treasurer, and 100 percent owner of her company, PS Strategies, the largest source of income in the Pruitt family.“Dear Sir/Madam,” Lance wrote to his wife, in a letter he provided to back up his claim that he made a “good-faith effort” to follow the law. “I am a representative in the Alaska Legislature.” He said he was obligated to reveal information about Mary Ann’s employment, adding helpfully, “As you know, Mary Ann is a marketing consultant at your company, PS Strategies.”Pruitt claimed to the APOC that he had made a “good-faith effort” to get the information from his wife because he sent this letter to his wife and got a denial. 

“Who is this ‘my wife’ person to whom you refer?”

If Pruitt has any shame, this will end his political life. But we know he doesn’t. Stay on guard.



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