HB 76 — governor’s emergency powers — could see 50 amendments in Senate

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House Bill 76, extending the governor’s emergency powers, faces a Senate debate, amendments, and vote on Wednesday. If Must Read Alaska sources are correct, it could be a long day. The bill faces as many as 50 amendments in the Senate.

House Bill 76 was offered by Gov. Mike Dunleavy back in January, and with no action taken by the Legislature, his emergency powers expired Feb. 14. He’s been able to continue to lessen regulatory burdens and have a successful vaccination distribution program only because he has a “live bill.” If HB 76 dies, the entire vaccination program crumbles, for starters. If Covid spikes with the summer tourism season, he won’t have the ability to redirect resources due to the bureaucratic red tape involved in medical responses.

There are a few in the Senate who absolutely opposed to the term “emergency powers,” because these powers seem to go on forever during the pandemic, and they appear as a threat to civil liberties. Some amendments will be along the nature of “end this Covid charade and get back to normal.”

The Senate, a more functional body than the House, is trying to achieve the art of the possible with HB 76, keeping very limited powers for the governor and giving him the ability to end the disaster.

What the governor needs, actually, are just four specific powers, but Alaska’s emergency powers laws are written as “all or nothing,” which is why there is so much contention between lawmakers.

The powers Dunleavy needs are boiled down to:

  1. An easing of procurement regulations around vaccines
  2. Ability to provide immunity to those giving vaccines. Many are volunteer health professionals)
  3. Being able to house Covid-positive people in non-medical settings like hotels to help them isolate
  4. Telehealth

To understand where HB 76 came from, one needs to wind the clock back to last year. The governor had emergency powers through Nov. 15, powers granted by the Legislature over a year ago.

But the Legislature couldn’t or wouldn’t call itself back into special session to extend that emergency power, and so the governor did two 30-day extensions to get Alaska through the worst of the Covid spikes over the winter, and into the legislative session, when lawmakers could act. Winter Covid spikes were worrisome as hospitals started feeling the pressure and vaccines were not yet available, as they are widely available today.

But although the Legislature has now been in session for 100 days, the House and Senate are still wrangling over the details of what it means to have emergency powers in this new year.

Complicating the matter is that once the governor files a bill, he cannot take it back. At this point, HB 76 is owned by the Legislature to mold how it wishes. This means the governor’s emissaries to the Legislature must keep an eye on the bill and try to help shape it into something that will benefit Alaska, but also assure Alaskans their civil liberties are protected. Ultimately, the governor could be handed a terrible bill that he might veto.

While the Senate debates HB 76, it appears the House Speaker may delay Wednesday’s floor session to “the call of the chair,” until the Senate completes its work on this critical piece of legislation. After that, the bill will either be passed to the House for concurrence or go to a conference committee to hammer out differences between the amended version expected from the Senate.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting – that Senator Reinbold has to torpedo this bill to the possible detriment of the whole vaccination program, just to “get even” with the governor. What utter nonsense! Or is she laying the ground to completely scuttle this administration and run for governor herself? Is this what Alaskans want? To have no answer to any spike this summer? Just to satisfy Senator Reinbold’s ego? Alaska had one of the best programs in the country. But if she has her way, it will go up in smoke. Alaska beware! Is someone like that really serving Alaska, or serving herself?

  2. No legal immunity for those giving the jab! They should be able to be sued especially if they give false information about the efficacy and safety of the unapproved experimental serum they are injecting.

  3. The sell-outs are on a roll toward advancing the curative embraced by heathens in China. Such an agenda of imprisoning political opposites is antithetical to values guaranteed in our own best form of government the republic of 50 perfectly united states of being. Those proposing anti-liberty solutions are themselves now probably inhabited and without free will within their insanity ruled caucuses devoid of even notions of freedom. IN Alaska folks; root these communists out! Watch them bristle and sizzle now!

  4. “Being able to house Covid-positive people in non-medical settings like hotels to help them isolate”
    Just like in China…. Never mind that most have “cold like symptoms” for a few days and 99.5% do just fine…never mind that Florida and Texas saw there cases drop after they removed their mask mandats.
    Nope, the governor says o ne thing to our face then does a completely different thing behind our back so he can keep his federal dollars rolling back in to support the bloated Alaskan government.
    This bill will be the final straw for small business and tourism as no one wants to travel to a frozen gulag in the north.

  5. “Emergency powers” …isn’t that an interesting concept???
    The powers, duties, and responsibilities that we, the people, agreed to delegate to our three branches of government are all well defined in the document that most of the people elected to serve us in this state seem largely unfamiliar with…the Alaska Constitution.
    Here’s what we, the people, agreed to for the governor’s authority:
    “The governor shall be responsible for the faithful execution of the laws. He may, by appropriate court action or proceeding brought in the name of the State, enforce compliance with any constitutional or legislative mandate, or restrain violation of any constitutional or legislative power, duty, or right by any officer, department, or agency of the State or any of its political subdivisions. This authority shall not be construed to authorize any action or proceeding against the legislature.”
    So the governor is constitutionally limited to enforcing the laws created and passed by the state legislature.
    Here’s what we agreed to concerning the legislature:
    “The legislative power of the State is vested in a legislature consisting of a senate with a membership of twenty and a house of representatives with a membership of forty.”
    Does “legislative power” mean that they can just create, debate and pass any law they feel like at the moment?
    No…they are constrained by the state and federal constitutions.
    Our constitutions were written to clearly define the limits of governmental authority and to enumerate SOME of our natural and civil rights. Constitutions limit government…they don’t limit citizens.
    So if some governmental power isn’t clearly expressed in our constitutions then government does not have it.
    We’ve allowed all three branches of both state and federal government to create the fiction that broad governmental powers can be found hidden under vague terms like “General Welfare” and the like but that’s just government overstepping it’s bounds and then imposing its will on us by force.
    So go look for it in the state or federal constitutions…the clause that grants government super extraordinary emergency powers to control us if THEY decide an emergency exists.
    You won’t find it.
    You won’t find it because we didn’t grant it.
    This power only exists in the imaginations of authority seeking politicians but they’ve got the military, the police and the courts to back them up so, I suppose, they really don’t need our agreement any longer…do they?

  6. Most of the Covid response has been a shredding of individual rights so people that don’t understand the concept of INDIVIDUAL responsibility ‘FEEL” safer. The business owners that saw their livelihoods stolen from them under the guise of a “disaster”, which never showed up, would surely love to have something to say about the BS going on in Juneau.

  7. All while MIT & Stanfords newest findings about the vaccine are being censored from the net….
    YouTube taking all and any channel or video down that disclose the newest (and very damaging) findings calling it “medical misinformation” Top virologist are now calling it a “Bio-weapon” and even calling for the isolation of all vaccinated people by national emergency.

  8. I had Covid in October, and it was nothing like the flu. Normally, I don’t even get colds, but what hit me was truly like a sledgehammer. It was days before I could even eat any part of a normal meal. The only thing I lived on was oatmeal and honey, and pain pills. People that have had Covid know it is no joke. I also remember people on the governor’s twitter account demanding that he declare a state-wide mask mandate. They did this all year. These people were probably in Anchorage and Fairbanks, where most of Alaskans live. But he withstood all of these pressures to keep things voluntary as much as possible. However, workers from the lower 48 brought in Covid, so entry requirements had to be made to defend Alaskans primarily in the cities. No body said thanks.
    Nobody can deny that cities breed dependency, but there are other parts Alaska. Most of the people responding on this blog probably come from there – like MatSu Valley. There is more room and people don’t need all the regs and don’t want them. But for the people in the cities who are too close together, the situation is very different. They need and demand a different action. As much as we want our freedoms to use our own common sense, we still cannot limit them, either. If we do, we are just as guilty in oppression as any government.
    And by the way, I completed my two shots; something I might not have done if I had not had such an experience with Covid.

  9. Shelia Cassidy…your post really says it all, doesn’t it?
    You actually had Covid and recovered. That means the virus invaded your body and your immune system developed antibodies that eventually fought it off and you recovered…but, for some reason, you then ran out and got an untested experimental genetic drug injected into your veins.
    Why?
    The stated purpose of the wonder drug injection is to trick your body into using your own cells to build part of the Covid virus that your immune system will then respond to by creating the same antibodies that you already have from actually having Covid!!!
    There was zero benefit to you by taking the jab…but there was the risk of an adverse reaction.
    It just makes a person wonder how many people even understand what they’re signing up for when they join the medium and long term animal test group (aka the inoculated).

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