BODY FLUIDS ARE OF PARTICULAR INTEREST THIS SESSION
There may be a lot of awkward conversations in Juneau in coming months. They’ll be about mucus, feces, semen, and more.
Legislation filed so far in the “pre-file” batch released on Monday include a litany of Sex in the City items that may be debated in committee.
And birth control insurance coverage is the mildest of them, although even that topic might get salacious.
Rep. Matt Claman, an Anchorage Democrat, wants insurance companies in Alaska to be required to pay for contraception “and related services.”
His pre-filed bill, HB 21, mandates broad insurance coverage of drugs and devices that prevent pregnancy, including year-long pregnancy prevention medication.
The bill has an exemption for religious organizations that object to such methods of birth control and don’t want to pay insurance premiums that cover it. It is essentially the same bill he filed during the last session in 2018, HB 25, which he explained then was to address, in part, the issue of reproductive coercion.
“This deplorable behavior and blatant disregard for women’s health and autonomy is inexcusable. Contraceptive coercion is a public health issue, and it is also a public safety issue. By giving women and families access to affordable and reliable contraception, we can help current and potential victims of abuse,” he explained last year. That bill died in the Senate last year.
Rep. George Rauscher, an Interior Republican, wants to ensure that the public treasury isn’t paying for voluntary sex change operations of prisoners. His pre-filed bill, HB 5, says that the State will not pay for “gender reassignment medical procedure[s]” or drug therapy that is the precursor to “physiologically changing a person’s sex.” The bill specifically refers to incarcerated individuals and their medical care.
Rauscher also has filed a bill relating to sex education in Alaska, spelling out that schools should stick to themes that are age-appropriate and prohibiting the instruction in or advocacy of the intricacies of sexual intercourse, sexual stimulation or erotic behavior, or homosexuality, gender identity or express use of contraceptives and out-of-wedlock sexual behavior. This legislation would all but prohibit organizations like Planned Parenthood from teaching their agendas in the schools, although the bill never mentions the group or any other outside organization.
Of the 24 House bills that were filed in the “pre-file” timeframe so far, Rauscher had 10 of them, covering everything from moving the Legislature to Anchorage to ensuring that “In God we trust” is the official motto of the United States and “North to the Future” is the official motto of the state.
HB 6 would allow for the mottos to be displayed throughout public buildings where practical and where there are donated funds to support such a display. Rauscher’s bill would mandate that if ever there was a court challenge to the “In God We Trust” motto being displayed, the state Attorney General would vigorously defend it.
Rauscher also offered House Joint Resolution 1, to proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska prohibiting the imposition of a broad-based individual income tax or statewide general sales tax without the approval of the voters of the state.
Rep. John Lincoln addresses sexual misconduct in his HB 14, which would make it illegal in various circumstances to masturbate in the presence of another person and ejaculate on that person without that person’s consent.
His bill would further affirm that choking someone to impede their breathing or blood flow is considered the use of a deadly weapon, as defined elsewhere by Alaska Statute.
Rep. Geran Tarr also offered a bill pertaining to sexual crimes. Her HB 20 requires law enforcement agencies to send sexual assault examination kits for testing within six months after collection.
On the Senate side, incoming Sen. Scott Kawasaki filed SB 3, which deals with crimes of harassment; providing for an aggravating factor at sentencing for certain felonies committed for the sexual gratification of the offender. It mentions unwanted contact with bodily fluids, such as offensive physical contact with human or animal blood, mucus, saliva, semen, urine, vomitus, or feces.
Rauscher also filed HB 2, a bill to relocate the Legislature to Anchorage, a bill that gets filed by someone every session, usually a legislator from the Mat-Su. That’s sure to rile up Juneau and activate the Alaska Committee, which meets Wednesday and will likely have this bill on its agenda.