Day 60 fail: House still operating without adopting Uniform Rules

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A disagreement in the Alaska House of Representatives left the body politic operating without the use of Uniform Rules for yet another day, after the floor session ended on Saturday.

Monday is the 61st day of the legislative session.

House minority member Rep. David Eastman and others said the House is supposed to adopt the Uniform Rules first, and then amend them.

Instead, the House Rules Chair and the House Speaker are allowing the rules to be amended before they are adopted. It seems arcane, but the Legislature is a rule-based organization, and the Uniform Rules and Mason’s Manual are the Bible for orderly operations.

In the forward of the Uniform Rules, the book informs readers how the Uniform Rules are required to be adopted:

Sec. 24.05.120. Rules. At the beginning of the first regular session of each legislature, both houses shall adopt uniform rules of procedure for enacting bills into law and adopting resolutions. The rules in effect at the last regular session of the immediately preceding legislature serve as the temporary rules of the legislature until the adoption of permanent rules.

Rule 53 seems to reinforce the importance of adopting first, amending later.

Rule 53. Adoption and Amendment of Rules. The Uniform Rules of each legislature shall be adopted in joint session by a majority vote of the full membership of each house. Thereafter the Uniform Rules may be amended only by the adoption of a concurrent resolution by a two-thirds vote of the full membership of each house. When the rules are affected by constitutional and statutory changes, the Legislative Council will effect the necessary formal revision in the next printing of the rules and inform the Rules Committee of the changes made.

Rep. Matt Claman, an Anchorage Democrat argued that this is how it’s always been done — amending the Uniform Rules before voting on their adoption. He added that the Legislature needs to show the public “we’re here to get the business done of the people and show that we can come together and move forward.” He urged a yes vote.

But the Uniform Rules needed a two-thirds vote to pass, and with 26 yeas and 6 nays, it failed to pass the House on Saturday and will be up for a reconsideration vote, probably on Monday, when eight absent legislators are expected to return.

The Uniform Rules needed to be adopted and updated because Mason’s Manual, the handbook for parliamentary procedures in the Legislature, had been updated and the Uniform Rules needed to accept the new version.

All of Saturday’s in-the-weeds debate came on the heels of Friday’s death-match between Speaker Louise Stutes and Rep. Chris Kurka, who had worn a “Government Mandated Muzzle” to the House floor, only to be told he needed to remove his political statement mask and replace it with a plain one. Stutes, as the presiding officer, is granted that authority by Uniform Rules and Mason’s Manual.

So it was no surprise that when the adoption of those governing rules came up on Saturday, the conservative caucus of Eastman, Kurka, Ron Gillham, Ben Carpenter, Kevin McCabe and Sarah Vance would drive home their point that the presiding officer is breaking the rules.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Uniform Rules? The Legislature doesn’t even follow State statute [(AS 37.13.140(a)] regarding the calculation of the permanent fund dividend, They had to add a new section (b) to it that conflicts with (a). They can’t be bothered with adopting the the Uniform Rules before amending them. Statutes and Uniform Rules are for other people and merely suggestions for the Legislature. Anything goes.

    • Stutes and Crew are nothing more than Lyin’, Cheating, Lawless Democrat/RINOs.
      Binding Caucus, ACLU, Unions and Special Interest Groups Rule and are not interested in doing what is right for Alaskans…

  2. Rulz, rulz, rulz. Democrats and Leftys love rulz they can break when their own needs require it. This legislative session is a waste of time. Muzzle them all and keep them in Juneau permanently. No one outside of the legislature cares about them anyway. And that’s the truth.

    • Almost all 50 states use Mason’s manual so Alaska is hardly alone in working with a new manual. There were Constitutional errors still being found in the old version last year. The Manual has reasonable and scholarly reviewers who are very interested and open to discussion. Alaskans should not be retentive or tentative in pacing their work. Their enactments are fir themselves anyway and they don’t follow their color of law work product anyway if past years’ schedules are any clue and positions regarding the PFD are any clue. You are not hired to reinvent the wheel. Scholars have been carefully reviewing Masons and will continue.

      • 50 other states are able to prepare a budget. WHY CAN’T ALASKA? Most use Mason’s. Mason’s Rules has an amount of time when it is reviewed by users for misspellings, punctuation errors, and errant omissions of Constitutional application. This is standard and no justification for tentative scheduling. Ak’s enactments are most applicable to the oath taking Alaska legislators. They have history of behaving as though they do not believe such rules apply to themsuch as enactments regarding PFD distributions. Hint there is nothing wrong with what I just said. It is substantive and helpful
        There is no reason to pull this comment.

        • G – Allow me to explain. All comments go into the approval folder for review before posting for the public. This is standard procedure. I only review comments in the folder about 6-10 times a day. Not every minute. – sd

  3. Well, here’s another year of a failed Legislature. The session should be ending in a month, and the House hasn’t even finished setting itself up yet. The good part, however, is that this particular gaggle of fools won’t have the time or competency to screw things up by intent, either. I’ll take a year of bumbling nothingness over a year of competent evil every time.

  4. Our legislature fiddles while Rome burns:
    “They may have arrived late to the shale soiree, but the super-majors have shown up with overflowing wallets, lofty production targets, and they’re setting the tone for the next wave of development in the transcendent Permian basin.” 2019-World Oil
    The money is going south, faster than a Snow Bird.

  5. Alaska seems to be the only place where it is necessary to specify Democrats AND lefties. Lots of liberal”Republicans” here…

  6. The takeaway is The Stutes is an ineffectual, incompetent “leader”.
    .
    Leaders motivate people to do productive things. The Stutes does not do this.
    .
    Instead The Stutes legacy seems to be babbling like the village idiot about fearmasks and figuring out how to stiff productive Alaskans for more money.
    .
    The Stutes should resign, or be forced by colleagues into resigning, its “leadership” position.

  7. The Rino republicans can take the blame for the mess in Juneau, they lied to the voters and joined the democrats. I guess we can’t trust the republican politicians anymore.

  8. Shut it down and go home
    Stop the show, cease and desist
    Bless your heart you worthless good for nothings
    I have a 3rd grade education from the overpaid Anchorage school system, where do I put my application in to get one of these masky jobs.

  9. EVERYTHING! (for them) must be tedious, torturous and niggling. NIggling is what we do. It is our job! To niggle! You keep hiring us to niggle. A-niggling we will gooooo….to collect our enhanced overtime. Wheee….

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