Legislature sets strict rules for Capitol COVID conduct - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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Legislature sets strict rules for Capitol COVID conduct

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BARANOF HOTEL WILL NOT BE OPEN THIS YEAR

The Legislative Council is awarding COVID-19 screening, testing, and quarantining services to Beacon Occupational Health and Services for the Alaska State Capitol Building during the upcoming session, for a cost of no more than $1.5 million. All who enter will pass through the screening point at the entry, which includes a temperature reading.

In addition, the Council has adopted a “Pandemic Code of Conduct Policy,” which applies to all legislators and legislative staff in Juneau.

As a condition of working or being present in the Capitol and related legislative buildings, offices, or spaces, legislators and legislative staff must:

  • Provide a local address and emergency contact information to the Personnel Office.
  • Make every effort to quarantine in place for 14 days before arriving in Juneau.
  • Arrive in Juneau with a negative approved molecular COVID-19 test; or test upon arrival and quarantine pending results.
  • Get tested as offered by the Legislative Affairs Agency (or contractor).
  • Isolate in the event of a COVID-19 positive test result as directed by health authorities and cooperate with contact tracing and quarantine efforts.
  • Take responsibility for your own health, the health of your staff, and the health of others in the community by adheringto guidance from LAA, City and Borough of Juneau and State of Alaska health officials, as well as the U.S. Centers for DiseaseControl.
  • Complete a daily health screening (answer a series of questions and perform temperature check).
  • Practice physical distancing and good hygiene, including the 6-foot rule and wearing face coverings outlined by the Legislative Council’s face mask policy, washing hands, using sanitizer, and staying home if sick.
  • Socialize only in small groups and comply with enhanced social event management policies for groups and organizations. 
  • Avoid all essential trips out of the Capital City.

Offsite meetings will also be more problematic this year. The historic Baranof Hotel, a favorite hangout that provides rooms for legislators and lobbyists during the session and a watering hole frequented by lawmakers and lobbyists, will not be open this year.

It’s not just the Baranof that is a concern. The legislative housing situation in Juneau is generally bleak, as many homeowners are not renting out their places this year, either because they are not heading south for the winter or because they don’t want strangers staying in their homes. Those who have rented rooms out to legislators or staff in the past are not coming forward with them this year.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Put them all on cots in Centennial Hall, give them box meals, and limit their travel to only the legislative building. If they leave, they can’t come back without a prior negative test.

    Treat them like they would treat us.

    Interesting how kids can’t be in class but the politburo meets in person.

    • touche!

    • Love this idea.

  • Some of this makes sense, but some sounds a little like, with similar wording to, the type of agreement you sign when your on probation & agree to house arrest with electronic monitoring. Also sounds a little like Juneau would really rather not host the Legislature this year. Yes, precautions are good. But the way this is worded is condescending.

  • The legislature should convene near Anchorage, where there is adequate housing to provide for the proper execution of the government process. There exists no reason to spend tons of money attempting to operate in an impossible situation.

    • Thank you!

      • Agree.

    • Great minds think alike!

  • When I served in the US Army, a GP Medium tent solved all housing issues. And, I bet it would get the money grabbing so and so’s out of there faster!

  • They are preparing you all for determining one day who gets entrance and who gets travel privilages. Oneday if you listed on a rejection list then you are banned. Very sad to see this going down in Alaska’s capital on U.S. soil. How does one bring down the nation set up as the strongest nation in the world, America will be brought down using increment baby steps using subtle communistic actions that the American people are unaware while it all unfolds.

  • 😎 I think if they added, no lobbying or lobbyists to their list, we would instantly be on our way to permanently moving the legislature out of Juneau.

    Just a thought…

  • The problem having a capital city inaccessible to Alaska and Juneau always faced a housing shortage, i guess its time to revisit and seriously permenently moving the capital out of southeast alaska.

  • Government won’t force you to take vaccine. Amazon will. Airlines will. Banks will. You won’t be able to buy, sell, or trade without the vaccine. Can you say Mark of the Beast?

    • The Mark will be personally identifiable. Vax verification could be done this way, so it could be used as an excuse to start the beast’s system, but he isn’t in power yet – so this can’t be the Mark.

      • He’s about to be in power those. Or should I say she?

    • As a volunteer EMS responder in a small community who has been putting my health on the line for no remuneration, I will be getting the vaccine as soon as I can.

  • Juneau has now become untenable for the Legislature. For several years we have lobbied for the Legislature to move to Anchorage. In the past, our reasoning has included, access and costs. The housing situation for Legislators and staff members who do not live in Juneau has always been a challenge, with the Baranof closing, the situation is not just problematic, it’s impossible. Juneau’s response has always been that they would not be able to continue without the Legislature.

    Over 50% of the Legislators live either in, or within 50 miles of, Anchorage. Locating in Anchorage would provide Alaska with a very large savings in travel, per diem, shipping, etc. It would allow those Alaskans who live on the road system with more opportunities to interact directly with their Legislators.

    Now is the time and Anchorage is the place to relocate Alaska’s Legislature.

    • After the difficulty finding housing this session, the legislators might be inclined to agree.

    • The legislature would be equally influenced by leftists in Anchorage as Juneau. I suggest moving them to the Valley or Fairbanks would be a better suggestion.

  • The legislature is trying to limit the number of constituents physically present at any given time. If someone complains over the phone, they just hang up. Can’t do that if they are sitting in front of them. They work best in the dark, where no one knows what they are doing until it’s sprung on them as ‘legitimate’. Those tests they want everyone to take are worthless, with up to over 90% false results. Wuhan v is a complete ‘rope-a-dope’ on the world. Science is in the baggage car, along with common sense. The democrat socialists invent reasons for their actions as needed. I wouldn’t be surprised if no one from outside their clique (citizen) is allowed to attend at all, before long.

    • Get Ben a tin foil hat.

  • A perfect way to have closed meetings and zero transparency. Like the idea of Legislators being placed in Centennial Hall on cots. They could then be watched and placed in buses for transport. Sack lunches and water only. This may even speed up their meetings.

  • The recent state election has only been certified a few days. Before that about 2/3 of the legislators didn’t really know if they were going to be coming to Juneau or not. Maybe now they will realize they have to have a place to stay while in Juneau.
    My wife and I have had a very nice 2 bedroom apartment listed with LAA, just 5 minutes from the Capitol, and yet only two legislators or staff have expressed interest. We have had numerous calls from people “Outside” wanting it, however, but we have thought the right thing to do would be to make it available to Alaskans
    Whether anyone decides to rent from us is a moot point, Juneau is ready to welcome legislators and staff and hope they stay and get necessary business done.

  • Howdy Suzanne, “This year” – 2020 – or this legislative session that Baranof will be closed? What about other motels in Juneau? What does this mean for conventions and lobbyists there?

    • Several of both being used to isolate covid carriers, or shelter homeless, past 6 months.

  • Rules?

    Observed by the lawlesslature that knows no stinkin’ rules?

    The lawlesslature that ignored the statutes pertaining to the PFD?

    The lawlesslature that ignored the governor’s lawful special session safely away from their favorites watering holes and lobbyist lovers lanes?

    Yea, the Alaska “Legislature”. Call it what it is: Lawless.

  • We have joked about this for years,,
    Since the MV Columbia is laid up for the winter, tie it up in downtown Juneau and let the legislators live onboard. Meals included,, cut their per diem,,, they can walk to work or ride the bus. Save the state some money.

  • We’re all gonna DIE!
    .
    True fact

  • I may sound like a broken record, but I don’t care, I will keep on saying it:
    The fact that the politicians and Alaska’s doctors remain totally silent about how to improve one’s metabolic health, which is the key to surviving catching the Kung Flu and sailing through relatively unscathed…..while they continue with the hysterical rules, mandates, and anti social distancing……just proves again and again this is all political and not medical.
    .
    Yes there absolutely is a virus making its way through our populace, but the politicians have zero concern about your survival, but are 100% using it instead as political leverage to gain more and more control over you.

  • Yes the Baranof is closed, Sheraton is open. What’s your source for a shortage of places to stay? Not seeing it here, so you may want to canvas your whisperers again. Plenty of places to stay and we love to host the Legislature every year, the town looks forward to it.

  • Complete a daily health screening (answer a series of questions and perform temperature check).
    In answering these questions to anyone other than your health care provider is that a violation of the Health Information Patient Privacy Act?

  • Legislature in Anchorage, that is a joke. Anchorage has an Assembly that shuts out citizens, what makes you think that the State Legislature would be different. Anchorage needs to pull the plank out of their eye before commenting on the speck in Juneau’s eye.

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