The videotape of legislators playing pingpong, board games, drinking beer, and leg wrestling in the Capitol’s Terry Miller gymnasium on March 31 will not be released, according to the Legislative Affairs Agency.
The party involved Rep. Sara Rasmussen, Rep. Zack Fields, Rep. Kelly Merrick, and non-legislators.
Must Read Alaska made a public records request for the tapes, and received a speedy reply from the agency’s Executive Director Jessica Geary, who stated,” Per Section IV of the Records Policy (Security Camera Policy), security camera video tapes, digital recordings, or other surveillance material are confidential and may not be released to the public or press, except as required by subpoena or other court order.”
Others have put in similar records requests, including reporters from KTOO, KTUU, the Anchorage Daily News, and even Sen. Shelley Hughes, who wanted to know if any senators were involved. They were not.
Geary said that other non-video records she has related to the matter are in the possession of Rep. Sara Hannan, and that Hannan has indicated that as chair of the Legislative Council, she will not be releasing them to Must Read Alaska, based on the Legislative Council’s policy, the deliberative process privilege, and on Art. II, Sec. 6 of the Alaska Constitution.
“Therefore, a Legislator’s records are not subject to disclosure under AS 40.25.110 – 40.25.122. Each Legislator
may, at his or her discretion, elect to release or not to release information from that Legislator’s
own records. I have spoken with Representative Hannan regarding her legislative records. She
asked that I communicate to you that any records in her possession, which may include the records
you have requested, will not be produced in response to your request, based on the above policy.
The morning after the party, Geary had sent a memo to all legislators and staff members:
Dear Legislators and Legislative Staff;
May this email serve as a friendly reminder that the Terry Miller gymnasium is currently set up as a meeting space with fragile a/v equipment, an expensive stage — which was set up for a possible joint floor session, and chairs set up for socially distanced meetings. There is a process in place to reserve the gym, which is to contact my office at 465-3800 or by email at Gym.Schedu|[email protected]|eg.gov. Ifthere is no existing reservation, you may play ping pong or shoot hoops, as long as doing so doesn’t interfere with the gym setup and you clean up after yourself. There are general rules and guidelines for the gym, as well as a reservation calendar, which can be found on the Executive Director’s intranet page.
Also as a reminder, per Legislative Council policy, legislative buildings are closed to the public and there is nobody authorized to be in legislative facilities that hasn’t gone through the legislature’s COVID-19 testing and screening protocols. Further, it is a violation of policy to lend someone your keycard so they can gain access to a legislative building and you should not hold the door open to let people in that don’t have a keycard. Those needing access without a keycard should call Security at 465-1414. Thank you everyone for your cooperation and understanding. Have a wonderful Easter weekend. Best regards,
During the party, one of the members gave her key card to a companion to go get more beer, a violation of building policy, prompting the executive director of the agency to remind legislators and staff to not allow the public into the building or loan their key cards to others.
Since Must Read Alaska can’t show readers the actual video of legislators leg wrestling with a blogger and others, we have found a generic leg-wrestling video to explain the nuances of the game: