Rep. Zack Fields, who represents downtown Anchorage, told his House colleagues on Sunday that people who have not gotten the Covid-19 shot are dying because Republican politicians in the House are posturing.
“We have 1,500 people dying every day because politicians, and bloggers, and conspiracy mongers have discouraged people from getting vaccinated … And we are considering the first in a long series of vaccine bashing amendments, and it is a travesty! … With this amendment we would be discouraging vaccination, directly would result in more people dying avoidably.”
Fields flipped back and forth between yelling and mock-laughing during his remarks.
He continued to angrily bash “politicians, bloggers, and conspiracy mongers,” repeating the target of his ire in case people had not heard it the first time. As for the people who are dying, he said, “It’s not really their fault that they primarily get their information from Facebook or from some of our colleagues.”
“This is just unbelievable that for political self-aggrandizement we would be endangering Alaskans, I urge a no vote,” Fields said, before pandemonium erupted in the House as Republican members objected to his impugning the motives of his colleagues, a clear violation of decorum and floor rules. Several called for a “point of order.”
Fields shouted at them, “I would assert my right to make a simple observation,” the observation being that Republicans are causing deaths for political purposes.
Speaker Louise Stutes issued no warning against Fields for accusing his colleagues of causing Alaskans to die. She frequently warns Republicans and also frequently calls them out of order, but often lets Fields, who has a history of bad behavior, slide.
The House was debating a number of amendments to the governor’s telehealth bill, which was a bill to allow more access to telehealth.
But when the House got the bill, various issues were tacked onto it, mainly from Republicans interested in protecting the rights of Alaskans to make their own medical decisions regarding vaccines.
The amendment to protect people from vaccine mandates failed 18-18, with Speaker Stutes casting the deciding vote to make it fail.
An amendment offered by Rep. Sarah Vance, also drew the ire of Fields and Rules Chair Bryce Edgmon. The Vance amendment would prevent hospitals from denying patients the ability to have a person with them as a personal advocate, family member, or comforter. Many Republicans spoke to the need for sick people to have such an advocate by their side. Ultimately that amendment passed, but not before Fields and Edgmon objected strenuously.
At Amendment 5 it became clear the Democrats were losing control and there were 16 more amendments to go. The Democrat majority sent the bill back to the Rules Committee and it will appear on Monday on the House Floor for its second reading.