Alaska's D.C. delegation goes bipartisan with legislation - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, December 12, 2019
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Alaska’s D.C. delegation goes bipartisan with legislation

SPONSORING BILLS WITH DEMOCRATIC WOMEN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, introduced the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act last week to address the national shortage of affordable, quality child care, especially in rural communities.

Klobuchar, an independent-label Democrat, is running for president.

The polling company fivethirtyeight.com sees her as a strong candidate for the Democrats. Of course, that was before Sen. Bernie Sanders jumped in the primary, and before Joe Biden — who is expected to announce in April.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and California Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris last week introduced a workplace anti-harassment bill.

Harris is running for president.

Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Lisa Murkowski

[Read: Murkowski teams up with Harris on workplace harassment]

Not to be left out, Alaska Rep. Don Young and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard co-introduced two marijuana legalization bills in a bipartisan effort to get the federal government out of the marijuana control business. Alaska has legalized cannabis and Hawaii has legalized medical-use marijuana. This is legislation that Gabbard has introduced previously.

Gabbard is running for president.

DAY CARE, POT, HARASSMENT

The Sullivan-Klobuchar Child Care Workforce Bill is to help to address the shortage of affordable child care and qualified child care professionals in rural areas through competitive grants to states to support the education, training, or retention of the child care workforce, and building, renovating, or expanding child care facilities in areas with child care shortages.

Sen. Amy Klobucher, Sen. Dan Sullivan

The bill would also help child care workers work toward portable, stackable credentials that would allow them more mobility and opportunities for advancement.

The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act proposes to take marijuana off of the federal controlled substances list, and give states full authority to regulate the plant substances as they choose. The Marijuana Data Collection Act would begin the study of how marijuana legalization has impacted the states that have already legalized it.

“I am a passionate supporter of a states’ rights approach to cannabis policy. For too long, the federal government has stood in the way of states that have acted to set their own marijuana policy, and it is long past time Congress modernized these outdated laws,” said Young, who last week became the longest-serving Republican in both the House and Senate. He is the founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, with Republican Dana Rohrabacher and and Democrats Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis.

As for the Harris-Murkowski bill with the tortured name of Ending the Monopoly of Power Over Workplace harassment through Education and Reporting Act (EMPOWER Act), the California senator introduced an identical bill last year. Then, in December one of Harris’ longtime aides resigned after a newspaper report revealed he had settled a 2016 harassment lawsuit for $400,000.

That lawsuit had been filed by the former executive assistant for Larry Wallace when he worked for California Department of Justice under then-Attorney General Kamala Harris. There’s no indication she knew about the issue and Harris has been a vocal supporter of the #metoo movement.

“No matter who you are or where you work, harassment in the workplace is not acceptable,” said Murkowski. “We have a choice to make; either sit on the sidelines and hope for change, or roll up our sleeves to make the change. We must work to identify where harassment is its most pervasive; where it has been allowed to foster in a culture of silence, disrespect, intimidation, and abuse. And we must empower victims to speak out about the harassment they face. I am proud to be a part of this legislation which both prohibits efforts to silence victims and shines the light on harassment in the workplace. The change needed may not happen overnight, but with this legislation we can move to eliminate harassment in the workplace.”

Why are all members of Alaska’s congressional delegation reaching across the aisle to cosponsor legislation? It may be just coincidence, but sponsoring legislation with presidential candidates raises the profile of the cosponsor, and may inoculate Alaska in the event that any one of the three women actually do succeed as candidates and knock President Trump out of office.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • What a cute and cuddly Hallmark moment…
    .
    They reach across the aisle to butcher babies at taxpayer expense then decree survivors can’t be harassed.
    .
    Seems confusing…

  • ‘NO’ … I don’t believe this is a coincidence but rather, just how current-day politics is played while padding their pockets and retaining their power.

    … Quite interesting that “Danny-Boy” believes the Federal Gov’t is the solution to local – rural childcare!

    … Quite interesting that “Grandpa Don” sees some miraculous benefit coming from legalized pot, something that will outweigh the devastating risks as it’s no doubt a gate-way drug!

    … Quite interesting that “Daddy’s Little Princess” (aka – Alaska’s Merchant of Death) believes that more Federal Gov’t is necessary within private industry in work place harassment issues! Makes one wonder if it will also apply to Gov’t Agencies, such as the House and Senate or, if those two will be exempt? Maybe(?), this legislation will surprise us ‘mere minion constituents’ and be retroactive, illuminating the transgressions of workplace harassment abuses that have already occurred but conveniently swept away without any type of transparency.

    What a great time / opportunity for our elected leaders to review the ‘AK Republican Party – PLATFORM’ document (conveniently available here: http://www.alaskagop.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/06132018-ARP-PLATFORM.pdf) so as to reacquaint themselves with our expectations.

  • I’d say that the top priority for 2020 is to get someone named Berry elected to the U.S. House. That person can team up with Debbie Dingell so that we can finally get the ball rolling on the most important piece of legislation Congress could ever pass, the Dingell-Berry Act.

  • I am disappointed with Congressman Young’s involvement with the marijuana legislation. Apparently George Soros’ Marijuana Policy Project has caused him to lose his way. Review the actual research outlining the widespread problems with marijuana, Don. We will not build a better or healthier society, State or nation in a fog of marijuana smoke.

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