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October 27, 2021

Headlines:

The Good, the Bad, & the Beginning of the End

NO BY PROXY Remember a few months ago when an angry rioting mob stormed the Capitol in Washington D.C. armed with bear spray, flag poles, baseball bats, and other assorted weaponry and tried to hunt down members of Congress, and overthrow a legal democratic election? Apparently some members of Congress would like to just gloss that over. Last week the House of Representatives voted 252-175 to create a bipartisan committee to investigate how that happened and what we ought to do about it. 35 Republicans voted for it. Don Young was not one of them.  Don Young has missed 14.2% of roll…

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Unconstitutional & Unfit

WHAT-THE-HECK-A-THON – Part 1 We had not one but two marathon floor sessions this week. It started off in the House where mostly-minority Republican budget amendments were considered. Several passed with the assistance of majority Republicans, most notably Rep. Kelly Merrick (R-Eagle River) and House Speaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak). (Remember the majority coalition in the House is made up of Democrats, and a few independents and Republicans – the minority contains only Republicans who don’t want to work with Dems).  The operating budget finally passed 23-16 with two minority members (who were in the majority coalition last year but defected this year) Bart LeBon (R-Fairbanks) and Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks) crossing over to vote…

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Sen. Dan Sullivan – Leading in the Wrong Direction

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN ADDRESSES THE LEGISLATURE BUCKLE UP To say it was mind-numbing to listen to Sen. Dan Sullivan in his address to a joint session of the legislature is an understatement.  To say that was surprising wouldn’t be true. Mind you, he’s not up for reelection until 2026. His job security is solid. He doesn’t need to pander and whip up “the base” to get votes any more. This was the perfect opportunity to deliver a positive address, looking to the future, reassuring the 44% of Alaskans who didn’t vote for him that maybe he wasn’t so bad, and…

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Wasilla Rep. wants marriage defense for ‘rape by fraud’

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED The legislature finalized House Bill 76 this week that allows Alaska to keep millions of dollars in critical federal covid-related funding. But it didn’t come easy. The House passed their version of the bill back in March, then it went to the Senate, which brought it to the floor with 41 amendments, and only 2 days to spare before the money evaporated.  Republicans had some doozies. Majority leader Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) had an amendment which said that “biological girls should play biological girls, and biological boys should play biological boys” in high school sports. Minority Leader Tom Begich (D-Anchorage) pointed out…

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Alaska Senate Removes Anti-Masking Judiciary Chair

THE DEATH OF IRONY Who is responsible for this atrocity? Senator Peter Micchiche (R-Soldotna). This week he talked on air to Dan Fagan (AK right wing radio host who lives in Louisiana) about Anchorage politics. It was pretty rich. Micchiche thinks that Anchorage took this whole deadly pandemic thing way too seriously and… wait for it… “destroyed an economy.” This insightful piece of economic nonsense comes to you from the Senator who cast the deciding vote on SB21, the infamous 2013 legislation which has taken BILLIONS with a B directly out of Alaskans’ pockets and deposited them into the already-gigantic…

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Misfire and $$ Down the Toilet

SHOW ME THE MONEY It’s budget time in Juneau, and we’re looking at a strange set of circumstances that is complicating the process. Weirdly, it’s a giant influx of cash! You were not expecting that, were you? Joe Biden’s amazing American Rescue Plan means Alaska will receive about $1.1 billion, plus hundreds of millions more for education from K-UA, tribes and local governments, and infrastructure projects. You’ll recall Sen. Murkowski, Sen. Sullivan, and Rep. Young all voted against this bill. Guess they are not interested in bringing home the bacon anymore. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Now, the Alaska House and Senate must determine how to legally invest the money for the greater good of all Alaskans. Thankfully, there…

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‘Where do they find these people?’

TODAY IS THE DAY! If you’re in the Anchorage Municipality, don’t say we didn’t tell you this one is important! You get to decide whether Anchorage has a responsible, decent mayor or a homophobic Alaska Family Council homeless-hating right winger. (yikes!) You also get to decide whether you get thoughtful, intelligent school board members, or ones who joke about corporal punishment and obsess about racism not existing on their social media posts. And if you’re in Midtown you get to pick between keeping Felix Rivera, a caring hard-working Assembly Chair, or letting a bunch of Q-azy, anti-masking, storm-the-Assembly-chambers wackos turn out to vote…

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Bonfire of the Insanities

“IT’S UNBELIEVABLE” This is perhaps the best way to sum up the confirmation hearing for Alaska’s third Attorney General under Gov. Mike Dunleavy held in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week – a post from the Chair herself. Reinbold, unsurprisingly, spent the bulk of the time complaining about having to follow rules, “drilling down” on the nominee’s opinion on separation of powers, the executive branch overreaching on civil liberties, and the governor’s mandates on “cloth face coverings” in government buildings. “As you know in the building we have negative tests but we still have to wear these,” she said. And…

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Shenanigans & Malarkey

No, it’s not a sketchy Irish law firm – it’s this week in the Alaska State Legislature. THE BUDGET LOOMS It’s that time in the legislative session, when all the budget subcommittees that take on little bite-sized pieces of the big budget and make recommendations, are starting to wind down. Soon all those little pieces will reconnect and we’ll be on to the next phase. But for right now, part of the draft budget includes a controversial line item we’ve been keeping our eye on.  Remember a few weeks ago when there was a hearing about the Dunleavy administration’s move…

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Anti-masking Alaska Senator Banished from Capitol. Maybe.

Welcome to the theater of the absurd. If you’re getting tired of watching Alaska Senator Lora Reinbold’s middle school “you’re not the boss of me” antics, you’re not alone. Even her fellow Republican Senators have had enough – and they’re the ones who thought she’d be just swell as part of their “Caucus of Equals,” and installed her as the chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee. Because what could possibly go wrong? Should we still be talking about this? No. Does Sen. Reinbold (R-Eagle River) make that impossible? Yes. Since the CDC-compliant mask mandate went into place at the Capitol, Reinbold has been wearing…

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