Friday, June 2, 2023
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Republican input not welcome: House Democrats block dozens of amendments on operating budget

It’s a mess in the Alaska House of Representatives today, as the Democrat-led majority blocked as many as 30 amendments that were yet to be offered on the State Operating Budget, House Bill 69. It appeared that the Republican minority was having too much success getting their amendments through during a marathon session in the House over the weekend. Speaker Louise Stutes put an end to it.

The Saturday House session lasted over eight hours. But on Sunday, the process was delayed and delayed, which shows the difficulty of having what is a nearly evenly split House, where every vote counts. The Democrat-controlled majority is exceedingly fragile. When Rep. Sara Rasmussen Rep. Kelly Merrick started voting with Republicans on some amendments, Rep. Geran Tarr simply exited the floor, making it impossible to get a majority vote. A “call on the House” was placed a couple of times to round her up from her hiding place.

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On Sunday, the House majority was voted to stay in “third reading” on the budget, meaning dozens of proposed amendments would not be heard, even though they had been filed by the deadline. The Republican minority briefly left the House floor in disgust to caucus privately.

Normally, those minority members excluded from the House Finance budget process are allowed to offer amendments on the House floor. That is usually their only opportunity. But not today.

House Speaker Louise Stutes had a difficult time maintaining her composure and conducting business, clearly exhausted by the long days. At one point during the Saturday session, she uttered “Jesus,” in exasperation under her breath, but it was clearly audible by microphone. There were a number of “point of orders” that had tried her patience and limited skill set.

A few Republican amendments passed.

One, Amendment 19, by Rep. David Nelson, add funds to the Department of Law, using $200,000 from the Alaska Gasline Development Agency, all for the purpose of defending Second Amendment rights of Alaskans against the Biden Administration.

Rep. Sarah Vance’s Amendment 26 passed, reducing red tape with online applications.

Rep. George Rauscher amendment to eliminate legislators’ per diem after the first 121 days passed.

And Rep. David Eastman had a successful amendment — the Capitol Building must open to the public no later than Day 121 of this session.

House Minority Leader rose to speak to her disappointment in the process, which had disenfranchised over half of the state, whose representatives were not allowed to make floor amendments to the budget.

This is a developing story.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
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.


  1. Hey Democrats, it’s probably not a good idea to open the subject of “disenfranchisement”. I reckon you know all about that after the 2020 election. And I reckon it’s going to come back to bite you. Keep on being arrogant and thinking you’re the bee’s knees. Just keep it up. You’re showing everyone what you’re made of and they’re watching.

  2. Democrats being Democrat they dont compromise. Maybe if Real Republicans ever get control they’ll remember and treat the Democrats as they treat others-no compromise. We are not supposed to be compromising with evil anyways.

  3. Not sure I’m remembering or not, but didn’t we unseat some of the people that have acted like this in the past? Just the last election to be exact? And we ended up with the fuzzy end of the lollipop, AGAIN!
    They really don’t care what we want. We preach to each other about getting different people to Juneau every election and just end up with a new selection of clowns.

  4. Tried to watch this stuff on TV. What a crock. And to listen to the ” great gasby ” music every time they had to bicker amongst themselves made it unbearable. What a bunch of children. Is there no professionalism left? None of these people should ever claim to “represent ” us. This is not the Spriner show, and we have no shortage of disfuntual people.

  5. Stutes’ “limited skill set” – well said – but Louise does understand power and how to use it, just not in the direction we want to. Geran needs feathered to go with her Tarr. This is cancel culture folks. And we are all suffering from the thieves in control. When the shoe is on the other foot, we will remember – not so much because we want revenge, but to use whatever means available to fix the mess the idiots have created.

  6. Yikes. Let’s all fiddle while Rome is burning.
    As a solid Republican, I am glad that the coalition is stopping all these irresponsible amendments.
    People! We need to balance our budget without playing games!

  7. Just like the children they are, leftists are incapable of reacting rationally to an opposing view. They have to shut it down, take their ball and go home, or drown it out.

  8. Congratulations to Representatives: David Nelson, Sarah Vance, George Rauscher, and David Eastman for your work getting these amendments heard and passed!

  9. And here I thought that the Democrats were the party of unity; you know, those that can “reach across the aisle”. What a load of horse manure.

  10. Yes, it Hurts to being stung by a Bee.
    It’s all about controlling you it’s madness.
    Why did we vote for these people, if they can’t even say their piece.

  11. This is what happens when Democrats (even the ones with an “R” after their names) run things.
    These clowns are an embarrassment.

  12. Republicans, remember that Louise Stutes and Kelly Merrick are the reason you are not driving the bus but are the road surface instead.

  13. The “republican” candidates in Alaska seem to be border-line democrats, some are honest and run as democrats. Others hide the fact and are not exposed until they start voting and joining the socialist party in Juneau. We need a better system to remove these lying corrupt Rinos.

  14. Louise Stutes needs to go. Kodiak Republicans voted her in, and she couldn’t wait to caucus with the Democrats. They rewarded her with a leadership position for which she wasn’t qualified. Now, she is shutting up her fellow Republicans to keep her Democrat handlers happy

  15. God forbid the House consider amendments to tighten the budget priorities or reduce the size and scope of government. Kodiak Republicans should be embarrassed. Stutes is a disaster as she looks to Spohnholz, Tarr, and Fields to decide what to do as Speaker. She actually still thinks she’s a Republican.

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