Scofflaw legislative leaders make Alaska statutes 'optional' - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 22, 2019
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Scofflaw legislative leaders make Alaska statutes ‘optional’

By REP. BEN CARPENTER

Danger — without action on our part, following the law in Alaska is about to become optional.

Meeting in Wasilla for the second special session of the Legislature isn’t debatable; it’s the law. AS 24.05.100(b) is very clear:

(b) A special session may be held at any location in the state. If a special session called under (a)(1) of this section is to be convened at a location other than at the capital, the governor shall designate the location in the proclamation. If a special session called under (a)(2) of this section is to be convened at a location other than at the capital, the presiding officers shall agree to and designate the location in the poll conducted of the members of both houses.

And yet individuals in our Legislature would have you believe the law isn’t clear.

This is a critical moment in state history and there is more at stake than where the next special session will meet.

Our legislative institution is heavily dependent on precedent. It is a big deal for two legislators to arbitrarily decide that they have the right to ignore a law and with their decision, obligate the remaining legislators to follow their lead. It is precedent setting behavior and it is not an isolated event.

These legislators are required to have 40 members in agreement to meet somewhere other than Wasilla. They are shy one vote. The legislature is now several years into a habit of not complying with the 90 day session statute and the 120 day Constitutional requirement for completing legislative work. That a second special session is even required to address the failure to pay a statutory PFD is a new precedent and a new level of absurdity. If one law can be ignored, any law can be ignored. This should concern everyone.

Following social media and news reports, it is clear that some law abiding citizens of this great State may condone this behavior by their representatives because it meets their political agenda. All citizens must realize that one day, the political winds will shift and the next leader will have precedent on their side when they decide to ignore the law of their choice. It is conceivable that misguided citizens would take current legislative behavior as opportunity to ignore the law(s) of their choice. This is history in the making and we have taken a big step down a slippery slope of lawlessness.

This precedent must be corrected with the repudiation of this behavior.

Speaker Bryce Edgmon and President Cathy Giessel have demonstrated their capacity to thwart the will of the very people they were chosen to represent and the rest of Alaskans by claiming they have a right to ignore the law of the land. Their credibility is shot; how can they be trusted to write the law, let alone act in a leadership capacity, if they will not follow the law?

I am not easily offended but having fought in two wars to defend our way of life and support of our form of self-government, I am appalled that these leaders should choose to act in such a cavalier, shortsighted, and contemptuous manner. I can only hope that members of their respective districts will recognize the danger their representatives have placed us in and act accordingly. Our way of life depends on it.

I call on all legislators to consider alternatives for these two leadership positions and act immediately to replace these legislators with members who will follow the law and lead others to follow the law. Our credibility as legislators depends on it.

Ben Carpenter represents House District 29, the northern part of the Kenai Peninsula, stretching to Seward.

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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

  • one simple term; DERELICTION OF DUTY . members who fail to comply will be relieved of said post and will be deployed to streets of san franscisco, LA or chicago

  • Thank you Representative Ben Carpenter!! Alaskans beware! If we don’t hold our elected leaders (I use the word leaders facetiously) to the laws as written, Alaska is in for a very tumultuous time!!

    • Ma’am, they are not “leaders”, they are representatives for you. Therefore, their actions are supposed to be representative of you. Remember this at election time and think to yourself before you vote, does this person represent who I am?

  • Cheers for you, Representative Carpenter. Over the last few decades, Alaskan politics have turned to partisan hand outs and ignoring the rest of constituents. You, a few others, and the delegation co-chaired by Senator Hughes have created a breath of fresh air amongst the stench of the legislative majority’s actions and attempted actions, especially of late. Politics must be for all the people, not just those favoring handouts and inaction, as opposed by law and at the expense of Alaskans in general.

  • Thank you sir. We are so proud to have you as our Representative. The members of the 39 that decided to support this kind of lawlessness should look at themselves in a mirror and maybe decide to change their vote.

    • A list of the 39 legislators who are supporting the so-called leaders objecting to the special session in Wasilla should be published

  • YOU CATHY WERE ELECTED TO UPHOLD AND DEFEND THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
    Public servant! Not self interest.
    John Zielinski

  • Query: If the special legislative session is not legally constituted, would any action it may take be valid? Or would the governor just veto it anyway? Would/how would the governor be able to run the state until the people could recall these legislators or otherwise constitute a new legislature?

  • Thank you Suzanne and Representative Carpenter. It bothers me that this has become the norm of our time. I agree we are on a slippery slope leading towards lawlessness. We see evidence of this with Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder/Fast Furious, in our state Governor Walker, Byron Mallott (if any other person made inappropriate sexual advance to a minor they’d have a consequence and an elected government official should have some sort of investigation–but these get swept under the rug) Gabi LeDoux’s election/voter fraud–and the person she PAID suddenly dies? Nevermind what election baloney went on and certifying elections that were fraught with legality issues (District 40 and more). And for three years in a row we have legislators that ignore the current statute and pilfer money to fund a bloated government budget that most constituents voted against. We VOTED in a Republican House majority and through nefarious means they created a Democrat House Majority.

    We have created a big machine of state employee voters and unions that act as a powerful lobby to put pressure when the political winds don’t blow the way they want and we need to truly look at the way we do things. If every state put value in the law and honored and respected it regardless of political agendas we’d have a form of government that actually worked. But as it stands we have watched our the governments in our country (Federal, State, and local) consistently and repeatedly ignore statutes they don’t like politically or on the other hand prosecuting some based on their political beliefs because they are different and ignoring similar offenses by those of political cohorts.

    We have fomented a generation of outrage yet there are zero consequences for those that break laws. It seems that the shift has been to a court of public opinion and real laws are just for cherry picking to suit a political agenda. I believe in the rule of law, honor those that fought to protect it and if we as every day citizens do not only demand that the rule of law be followed but that we demand the same consequences for legislators breaking laws as we do those who don’t pay a fine/tax or the same as those who violate criminal statutes.

    How can it be that legislators can get away with taking thousands of dollars from every eligible Alaskan but someone on the street who commits theft/larceny will get prosecuted? The very definition of theft does not change because of who commits it. If we do not put a stop to the lawlessness with out consequence then we welcome anarchy and put a door stop in for civil war in America. The lines of division have been drawn and the demagogues have been fueling the fire of division and hatred. it’s not to hard to see where this path we are on takes us.

    I believe too much in this country and for what it stands for to easily let it just slip by the wayside. I think there are enough people in this State and in our country to actually help it turn around but we need to do something. We can’t just sit idly by as the fabric of the country is eroded. We must uphold the law, expel those that wish to destroy the rule of law and bring in new government—truly based on the rule of law, governed by the people for the people not governed by a few lawless folk fueled by ideology and disregard for the very laws they are supposed to create. We are close to a fundamental transformation alright–but we have a choice which direction we transform into: A country that respects and upholds the rule of law, where differences are valued and respected and where we are the example of American Exceptionalism that generations fought and died for OR we can be a divided, hostile country where legislators will doxx a child because they believe differently, where legislators ignore the very statutes they swore an oath to protect because it doesn’t fit their party’s agenda, where some crimes are prosecuted because of the offender is a political opponent and others are not because they are on your team, where transparency is code for we are lying and covering things up and even though we hear about it–nothing happens.

    While some might not think this is a big deal—it truly is. At some point we just have to say enough and become invested enough in our future and what it looks like for our children and grandchildren to become a mechanism of change and stop the things we KNOW are wrong. How we do that matters.

    • BRAVO! Well said!

  • In reference to what Representative Carpenter is stating is called Rolling the Speaker. While it has been done it is very difficult to accomplish. The members of both houses need to find a majority of members to do so. I reference another option: That the 21 members from both houses dig in and refuse to follow the the 39 and show up in Wasilla as required by the governors special session call. The speaker and the president may call the floor. However it would be the governor who would have request that the 21 be hauled down to Juneau.

  • I still don’t understand why the legislature needs to be involved with paying/transferring our PFD?

    • They don’t, but money is power and some of these clowns think they are so important that they are an integral part of the process.

  • I thought the Legislature could convene in Wasilla, gavel out and call a special session in Juneau. Looks like they are trying to skip a step.

    • They could, if they had the 40 votes, but they don’t have the votes required to call their own special session under section (a)(2) as noted above. By law they must follow section (a)(1), they could gavel in and gavel out but that would simply prove what we already know about this legislature, they can’t accomplish the work of the people and they will not do the work required to do so.

  • Thank you Representative Carpenter, for representing your constituents and the majority of Alaskans.

  • #recallthAKlegislature
    #voteeveryincumbentout

    • I have never supported that, however, this group is making me think that way….

  • Where can we find a list of the 39?

  • This governor has a trifecta and still can not get jack done. If he wasn’t such a caustic bully maybe there could be some compromise and progress. Pick and choose what you want to call legal and illegal…let the court decide. When you try to rule like a bully, you’re going to get push back. No one likes a bully!

    • The Governor is NOT acting like a bully! He is acting like the person we elected to do the job.

    • Hey, Chris. Please stop that pansy-droll. This is Alaska, we are in deep doo and have elected a Gov whom just may pack the cajones to break this spiral. The unfamiliar needs to be welcome. The on-going and status quo must reckon and realign with the will of Alaska. Many see that neccessity coming from blunt action at the office of Governor. And when that’s working, it highlights the contrast. Amazing conversation and innovative remedy can derive from within the stand of our brilliant and courageous Governor. No whining.

  • When were they polled???
    Where is the proof a poll of all legislators even happened..
    One person stated they were never asked.
    How odd….what if there was not a complete poll… What if they started and it did not go through all the way and they just made up results????

  • I spoke with Rep Kelly Merrick of Eagle River by phone yesterday and she is equally shocked and appalled by the total disregard for the law exhibited by Edgmon and Giessel, et al. She supports meeting in Wasilla where Alaskans can have a say in how the PFD is decided and where representatives can be influenced by their constituents. Every Alaskan should stand up for their right to be heard – not just at the ballot box – but in contacting and having reasonable access to OUR representatives. Let’s be clear, you were not elected to LEAD us, but to REPRESENT our interests – as was the Governor. Alaskans overwhelming do not support the wholesale theft of the PFD to fund state government (which is code for handouts to public sector unions – who are nothing but leftists PACS). There is never a wrong time to do the right thing – and I thank men like Ben who stand for what’s right

  • We should thank the 39 for showing us their true colors. Let’s form a committee to sue them for breaking the law when they don’t show up in Wasilla as directed by the Gov. Then recall all of them. Let’s show our true colors. Im in.

  • Unsolicited advice, Ben… 600 words of preaching to the choir is not inspiring. What’s needed from you is leadership.
    .
    You wanted the job, but the job got way, way out of hand, your leadership failed, your side’s falling apart, your mission’s about to fail, but failure’s not an option, and preaching’s all you got?
    .
    Best be –leading– instead of preaching! Figure it out, brother!

    You’re not alone, Ben, here’s what’s cooking in Senate District N…
    .
    Everybody’s welcome to use it… Who knows, maybe Giessel will get the message and resign.
    .
    Application to Recall Senator Cathy Giessel (Senate District N)
    .
    Senator Cathy Giessel neglected duties by refusing to report to the Governor’s call for a July 8 special session at Wasilla Middle School in compliance with AS 24.05.100(b)
    .
    Giessel, as Senate President, demonstrated incompetence by claiming an extralegal “right” not to follow the statute in a June 24 press release: “Although we are one vote short of the forty-vote threshold to call ourselves into our own special session agenda, the majority of legislators in both bodies considers it our right to determine the location and venue best equipped to conduct business on the Governor’s special session call”.*
    .
    Giessel’s refusal to assume the Senate President’s leadership role in a special session to resolve a significant issue (the Permanent Fund Dividend) impacting every Alaskan leads a reasonable observer to question whether Giessel’s action indicates lack of fitness for the job.
    .
    Petitioners assert Giessel’s actions meet the threshold of AS 15.45.510. “Grounds for recall.
    (1) lack of fitness, (2) incompetence, and (3) neglect of duties.”
    .
    Application approval is therefore respectfully requested.
    .
    *News from Alaska State Legislature, Office of Majority, For Immediate Release: June 24, 2019
    .
    Reference http://www.elections.alaska.gov/Core/petitionrecallprocess.php

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