Justin Parish’s Monday blues



On Monday, Juneau’s Rep. Justin Parish found himself at odds with the rest of the House Resources Committee. Even the co-chairs of the committee, both hard-left Democrats, seemed to lose patience with him.

Parish was showing no love to names provided by the governor for the Big Game Commercial Services Board. He felt the applicants should have disclosed that they have a potential conflict of interest, since they were involved in the big game services business.

Rep. Chris Birch tried to explain to Parish that real estate professionals serve on the Real Estate Board, and other professionals serve on other boards and commissions that create regulations for their specific professions. This is how it works.

But Parish was not happy forwarding Gov. Bill Walker’s names to a joint session of the House and Senate for a vote. He objected.

Co-chair Geran Tarr told him gently that he could not object to forwarding names. By forwarding the names, the committee was not approving them, but was only acknowledging they had reviewed the applicants was sending them on to a joint confirmation vote by the House and Senate.

“I understand the intent of your objection, but I’ve just never seen it entertained,” said Rep. Josephson, the other co-chair.

With his logic, Parish would never be able to serve on a “Crossing Guard Board” because he would have a possible conflict of interest.


Also on Monday, Rep. Parish’s signature legislation had to be withdrawn from the House calendar after being held over to the next day’s calendar not once, but twice; it was returned to the Rules Committee for further work.

HB 213 would restructure the Public School Trust Fund, combining separate accounts and using a “percent of market value” approach to get a higher rate of return, and more stable funding for public schools.

But a question came up: Because it is one of the only dedicated funds in the budget, by changing the structure of it, would future legislators be able to dip into the principle of the fund?

Rep. Tammie Wilson of North Pole wanted to make sure that didn’t happen. She offered an amendment, but it was not approved by the Democrat-led majority.

In the meantime, others started questioning whether by changing the fund so dramatically it would lose its “grandfather status” as a dedicated fund. The bill was rapidly losing support, and Parish was unable to explain it to his colleagues in the House why neither of these risks were relevant.

Parish was given the bill to help him with his gravitas. It backfired. At this point, he’s looking for a lifeline to help him get his bill out of Rules Committee purgatory.


  1. Was his objection to the form? There is no conflict of interest in Alaska except during election time and your opponent has one.

  2. Yes, Rep. Parish’s only job between ending many years in college and being elected to the House in 2016 was as a crossing guard for the Juneau School District. He went to college all over the world however, so he has worldly experience. And presumably he saw a lot of the world go around, or back and forth, as a crossing guard. Sitka’s JKT never had any job at all. But looking at Westlake and Fansler anyone might conclude that Parish and JKT are at least average in the House Majority.

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