Analysis: Legislature could not muster the numbers to defend children

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By TIM BARTO

The first session of the 33rd Alaska Legislature passed the third lowest number of bills in its history, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

For those who advocate for smaller government and want to minimize its impact on families and individual citizens, limited legislation typically means limited intrusion into our lives, and that’s generally a good thing.

But there were also opportunities for the Legislature to support traditional family values and promote common sense, and it failed to do that. 

Sen. Shelley Hughes wanted to re-introduce a bill to protect girls’ sports for girls, a cause she championed in 2022, and a cause so full of common sense it failed during the last Legislature.

Hughes stood fast to the conservative principles upon which she ran for office, but maintaining her integrity meant finding herself in an outcast micro-caucus of three, in which she was accompanied by fellow conservative stalwarts, Republican Senators Mike Shower and Robert Myers.

It also meant that the moderate-to-left Senate majority would call the shots, and the likelihood of getting a bill to keep girls’ sports for girls through the Senate in 2023 was zero. 

Hughes also maintained her integrity by actually adhering to an agreement to keep controversial social legislation from being introduced in 2023, so she opted not to introduce the bill. Despite knowing such a bill was doomed to fail, Hughes and her conservative allies also  knew that getting the debate into the open would be a positive thing, as the general public is coming to its senses.

People are finally starting to realize they have relinquished the social narrative to a radical ideology that eschews all things traditional; like the idea that men and women are different. These are facts exemplified by the entirety of human history and on which the future of humanity relies.

The agreement, made in the spirit of bi-partisan cooperation, died when ultra-liberal Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson introduced a couple bills: Senate Bill 22 to make Juneteenth a state holiday, and Senate Bill 43 to make sex education mandatory beginning in kindergarten. Neither bill passed, but it was a clear sign that the Left was not honest when it made the agreement. 

Despite the brazen breaking of the agreement, and as much as Hughes wanted a public debate on the matter, introducing something as common sense as protecting girls’ sports from intrusion by biological males was doomed to fail in the 2023rd session.

On the House side, conservative Rep. Jamie Allard was ready to take the House version of the bill, HB27, which was submitted by Rep. Tom McKay and co-sponsored by Rep. Frank Tomaszewski, and run with it. Allard, a mother of young athletes and a former competitive athlete herself, would’ve loved to have the debate heard in public debate, and force legislators to go on record on the issue. But being aware of the looming doom in the Senate, the bill was not heard.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed Senate Bill 96 in an effort to ensure parents have the right to be informed if their child is being referred to by a name other than their given name or by pronouns different from the child’s biological sex. This proposed legislation also says that a child’s physical, medical, or mental health information may not be withheld from the child’s parents, and that locker rooms and restrooms are to be separated by biological sex. This bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee where, sadly, no action was taken.

Think about this for a minute . . . but not much more than a minute or you’re likely to need medication:  We are at the stage of societal degeneration where we need to consider legislation to keep 1) boys from competing as girls and 2) public schools from disclosing to a child’s parents their child’s desire to act like a member of the opposite sex. But our legislature did nothing about it.

Please refer again to the opening paragraph regarding opportunities to support traditional family values and common sense. The Senate’s ceding of control to Senators Cathy Giessel, Gary Stevens, Click Bishop, and Bert Stedman, who are Republican by party affiliation, but certainly not conservative in practice, has made advancement of conservative, pro-family legislation impossible. The Senate leadership simply does not reflect the values of the Alaskan electorate who voted for a Republican majority.

The Republican majority in the House, on the other hand, coalesced and elected Rep. Cathy Tilton as Speaker. Tilton is another consistent conservative, and while the House did not set a strong conservative tone in 2023, it could have been much less so under other leadership.

Speaker Tilton, as well as traditional conservatives like Mike Prax, believe in playing fair. They were frustrated by the previous moderate-to-left leadership that did not allow conservative bills to be heard while advancing liberal legislation, so when they assumed power they sought to allow hearings from their colleagues on the opposite side of the aisle.

Again, these were actions based on integrity: they didn’t like being ignored when they were in the minority (caucus), so they allowed the opposition to introduce their bills. This, however, resulted in hearings on radical left wing proposals that took oxygen and strength from the room when it came to conservative proposals. 

Democrat Rep. Ashley Carrick introduced House Bill 17, which called for insurance coverage for contraceptives, and would have allowed abortifacients — pills that do not prevent fertilization but prevent a fertilized egg (a human embryo) from attaching to the uterine wall — to be available to minors.

HB17 also offered a very narrow exemption for religious organizations who object to paying for abortions and other services that pro-family conservatives find objectionable. The bill made it through the House Labor and Commerce Committee but was mercifully not acted upon in the Rules Committee.

Democrat Rep. Sara Hannan introduced House Bill 43, which would have made it illegal to counsel a minor to resist homosexual — or any array of feelings other than straight heterosexual — attraction. It wouldn’t be illegal to counsel or even perform gender transitioning surgery on a youngster who wants to change sexes, but it would be against the law to counsel a child who is fighting same-sex attraction.

Again, we must pause to think of the social precipice on which we stand that allows this to be considered moral. Thankfully, this bill did not advance out of the House Health and Social Services Committee.

While these two House bills were not successful this year, they were heard and doing so took time away from conservative legislation that could have been introduced. 

It may be wishful thinking, but the tide of public opinion appears to be turning, especially when it comes to issues such as transgenderism and the subjugation of parental rights to the government. If our elected officials come to that realization, and they will if the people let their feelings be known to them, then Alaska has a chance at making meaningful change come 2024. 

Tim Barto is Vice President of Alaska Family Council, an organization that works to promote traditional family values.

34 COMMENTS

  1. Unless there is something for them to gain or have more power the politicians will not vote for it no matter how important it is. The non voters are to blame for this.

    • You think it’s non-voters? First off we have documentation that the deadliest bio vaccine shots went to Red States so there’s no more old people to vote. Secondly, you gave us a bunch of college wimps to vote for. And third it was the establishment Republicans that blocked the Patriots years ago and called us conspiracy theorists while we were trying to warn you. Your own people is the cause of this. Now the same girls that are running the resistance is still blocking us from most things that might hurt someone’s feelings. Establishment Republicans will vote with a Democrat before they vote with a redneck conspiracy theorist who has been right the entire time about the world takeover of elite pedophile satanist. Nobody’s laughing at us now. So now our future is completely destroyed because you we’re worried about someone thanking you might be a kooky conspiracy theorist! Thanks a lot

  2. Tim, excellent summary of the happenings in the state legislature. It seems as if the Left plays by one set of rules and conservatives play by another set of rules. Maybe it’s time to face reality. The Left will never ever play by conservative rules. We need to “Learn From the Left”. As long as we play by rules of fairness and integrity, we will lose the debate yet feel good about ourselves. Look at how the Left wins arguments. Re transgenders participating in girls’ sports: this is a small part of the Left’s agenda. To solve this problem I suggest that many boys go out for girls’ sports and overwhelm the girls. That way maybe we could get the full attention of parents. That is “Learning From the Left”. Likewise, when it comes to boys/girls using another gender’s bathroom in schools I suggest that they start using the staff’s bathrooms. Then see if the school staff still support their rules/policies regarding a boy/girl using a bathroom other than one designated by their gender at birth.

    • I think I see your point but disagree with how you stated it. You can maintain your fairness and integrity and still counter punch. Decency and fairness is what separated the right from the left. The left does not win arguments. They lie about opponents, character assault and if that fails they scream and shout in an attempt to drown out debate. I suggest when speak up with a better message. Instead of boys pretending to be girls so they can beat them on the field, get them to drop the team, or walk off the field when a boy walks on. Let him play/run/swim by himself. Stay out fo the girls/wpmens bathrooms. Period! Have THEM tell the boys to stay out, and do it loud enough to be heard. If there is backlash against the girls then take the school/spa to court.
      I share your detestment for the current situation. But let us not become what we detest.

  3. The left doesn’t care about children as anything but test subjects for medical and social experiments. Or objects of desire in some.

    These are the “compassionate” people.

    My main issue, however, is with Tilton and Prax and their Boy Scout stupidity in believing in “fair play”. They ought lose their seats for this level of stupidity.

    What in the last, say 15 years, has the leftist wing of Alaska (Democrats) done to promote or encourage “fair play”? That’s Dunleavy level stupidity. That’s why we are where we are right now.

    It’s past time the alleged AK GOP and the AK Family Council grow a spine and a brain. The left will not “play fair” until you consistently beat them at the ballot box.

    Why should they?

    • Stop blaming ranked-choice voting! We are in this mess because of a social contagion sweeping society that goes by the name of wokeness. Only when people are not afraid to proudly proclaim “The Emperor has no clothes!” will we emerge from these dark times.

  4. The left wants to win and will stop at virtually nothing to do so.

    The right wants to be liked and will surrender everything necessary to attempt to do so. And the left will still loathe them.

  5. Alaska conservatives are in an abusive relationship with the GOP.

    We keep voting for them because they say pretty things, and the alleged letter R behind their names. Then when office they turn into better Democrats than most with Ds.

    But we return them anyway because this time they really mean it.

  6. Tim,
    It will be interesting to see how many resposes this piece gets. From my perspective, part of the problem with being a conservative legislator these days is this: if you are not the right kind of conservative, and do not follow the mantra and rhetoric of certain do-nothing legislators, you will be castigated and publicly flogged on social media. You must not interfere with these uber-right legislators and you must do what they say, even tho they do not do anything themselves.

    As a conservative, if a legislator does not follow these groups or individuals exact agenda or process, the disciples of the uber-right politicians and groups will attack that legislator incessantly and voraciously. Witness what Alaska Right to Life has done to Rauscher, Johnson, Tilton, Vance, McCabe, Hughes, and many others who are pro-life.

    Being pro-life is not good enough. A legislator must be their type of pro-life or they get videos, petititions, and social media attention. Or go to a gun show and see the petitions, by a gun group, against members of the legislature for their vote on the first pro-gun bill in Alaska in over a decade.

    Now, when we need them to fight against other things, such as LGBTQ, DEI, CRT, or ESG, our conservative legislators have been so neutered and muted that their voices are lost. Conservatives, and most assuredly republicans, have a penchant for shooting their own warriors in the back. Why not make petitions, memes, and posts against the real adversary? Why spend your time attacking fellow conservatives.

    Unless, and until, we can unite around legislators such as Shelley Hughes, Mike Shower, Cathy Tilton, George Rauscher, Kevin McCabe, Sarah Vance, Ben Carpenter, Frank Tomaszewski, Mike Prax, and actually support them, we will lose on every front.

    I expect we will see responses from some of those very attackers on here. Maxwell, Friend of Humanity, Masked Avenger and others. They delight in attacking their own. Can they, will they, publish articles and posts against the legislators and politicians who push the woke agenda now that the general public is sick of it? Or will they continue to attack legislators who can and will, with even a little support, stand in the gap and stop this ridiculousness.

    • Glad to see I lived up to your expectations. Not hard to do.

      But I noticed something in your rah-rah post. You never pointed out where I’m wrong. So, where am I actually wrong?

      • Do you speak for 18,335 of Tilton or Prax’s constituents? Because if you don’t then how can you say that any of your comments have merit? If you are not a constituent then your public comments are not needed or germane to their office, and everything you said about them has potential to be wrong. How do you know that they are not doing what the majority of their voters want them to do?

        We never see democrats or progressive publicly chastize their legislators. Never. If you think you have all the solutions then pay your $100 bucks and run instead of spending your time as a keyboard commando trying to fit a legislator, in another district, into your view of how they should operate.

        • Wow. Serious butt hurt. Are you writing a sequel to Prince Harry’s Waaaa?!

          And still, where am I wrong?

          Truly, you are confused.

    • Can you name any of these ‘right kind of conservatives’ or any particular ‘uber-right politician’? Please do, as I’ve been looking for some. But, generally we get state politicians that claim to be conservative in the same way murkowski claims to be a republican. Hughs, Shower, and Myers have gained respect but are still only three in number. We need a LOT more similar minded pols if we expect to get anything done.

      • Many are named in the original post. These are conservative who don’t just talk about how conservative they are, they actually do something. They understand how the game is played, they work well with others, and they manage to keep their morals and values even when they have to take a hard vote for one reason or another. I am sure there are others, some more conservative, some more moderate.

        • What are they actually doing? What are they actually accomplishing?

          For your premise to have any merits, you need examples.

          So far, you’ve brought none.

  7. I will drink to the ones who will, and I will drink to the ones who won.t, but I will not drink to the ones who say they will, but later decide they won.t. , I am so tired of the Rinos

  8. I wonder how they’d be in 2025 after we have we know who be America’s president. Back to their old ways introducing and passing controversial legislation. The establishment must be worried not to agitate the voting public

  9. The answer is still to support the bills that try to make a difference when they are introduced, and continue to support them until they are passed and signed into law. It is apparently far too easy for the LGBTQ+ crowd to descend on the legislature in Juneau in large, loudly insulting numbers than for conservatives to even pick up their phones and make a simple call. Until conservatives make the same noise, the results will not change, and they will decry those who made an effort but came up short of votes as “Rinos.” And a gentle reminder to all, once these legislators are in Juneau, they are making laws for all of Alaska and should be regarded in that manner.

    • yes. they are making laws for all Alaska. but a gentle correction; they are there to represent their distrcts, who voted them in, or hired them, in that lawmaking. that is how are representative government works. it would be impossible to know the will of 526,000 constituents. hard enough to represent 18,000 in my opinion

  10. You can’t legislate morality, or regulations best left to local school districts and governing sports associations

    • Frank, Do you really believe that you cannot legislate morality? If so then please explain the laws prohibiting such things as Rape, Murder, Sex with minors, Sex with Dogs…

      • Not good examples.
        Instead, Frank should explain the various “hate crime” and “hate speech” laws. Those are the ones that are attempting to legislate morality.
        Oh, and let’s not forget the “red flag” laws either.

  11. If we want to stop this garbage, we need to stop participating.
    No… not in the legislative process, but in real life.
    .
    If we want to protect girls/woman’s sports, the girls need to walk away. When some dude shows up at the swim meet, every girl competing against him should walk away. Let him swim alone.

  12. It was a bad bill. The people made lots and lots of calls and in person statements telling the legislature to not support this bill.

    The tide is not turning anyway but towards justice.

    • Tide is turning toward justice?
      It is just to have men compete against women? To have men receive scholarships and championships against women? That is what you consider justice?

  13. The only deal to make is stand up for the US Constitution, call out those who no longer adhere to the US Constitution, support inquiries of unconstitutional acts of public servants who are breaking oaths on file to defend the US Constitution.

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