Scott Ogan: Top 10 ‘left fork-in-the-road’ policy proposals

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By SCOTT OGAN

It has become painfully self-evident to many Americans that the press and digital media have been weaponized by people on both sides of the aisle. A true free press must thrive for our republic to survive. Politicos of all persuasions should not attempt to leverage the objectivity of the free press. We are blessed to be able to settle our differences with words, not bullets, which is not true in other places in the world.  

In keeping with my theme of Alaska being at a fork in the road, I have picked Ogan’s Top 10 bills that represent the dangers of Alaska taking the “left fork.” 

This is not representative of every member of the legislature, and there are many more examples. However, it generally represents the “left fork’s” policy vision for Alaska’s future.

When I was first elected in 1996, Rep. Al Vezey sat me down and said, “Sometimes, the most important thing we do down here is nothing.” I was stunned! I now know that he astutely explained it was intentionally designed that way, to prevent rapid and sudden swings in policy.

That is exactly why who is in the majority matters. When one chairs a committee, it’s a lot easier to stop things from happening than it is to make something happen. As the policy pendulum swings from side to side with each election, this keeps some stability in our political system. That is also why, even with our robust internal differences, Republicans should honor the voter’s intent when they elect a Republican majority. 

Below are Ogan’s Top 10 “left fork” bills. I’ve let the sponsor’s own words or bill language speak for them, but after each bill I’ve added my short analysis. Please note that I welcome readers’ feedback of these bills in the comments below. Please keep it on topic and without personal attack so your comments will get posted. Kindly represent your views respectfully if you contact a legislator’s office. Name-calling and personal attacks only serve to marginalize your effectiveness. 

Ogan’s Top 10 “Left Fork-in-the-Road” Policy Proposals:

10. HB 153, Oil and Gas Property Tax; Rep. Cliff Groh, D Anchorage: 

“Alaska’s reliance on savings accounts to fill budget deficits is no longer sustainable without risking the future of the Permanent Fund. We need new revenues, and changing the oil and property tax is one way to raise new revenues in a predictable fashion.”  

My HB 153 analysis:

Alaska is a mature oil province with declining production. The state may also be facing Cook Inlet natural gas and electrical grid power shortages. Add an openly hostile federal bureaucracy: This measure equates to the possible importation of very expensive Liquified Natural Gas into Alaska causing significant increases in electrical and heating costs.  Are California-type electrical brownouts in our future?  Rep. Groh’s number is 800-689-4998.

9. HB 184 Short Term Rental Unit Registry; Rep. Andrew Gray, D-Anchorage:

“Sec. 34.90.040. Limitation on number of short-term rental units. An operator may register and operate only one short-term rental unit at a time under this chapter.”  

My HB 184 analysis:

This measure is at best an extreme regulatory taking – at worst, violates bedrock free market and 14th Amendment due process principles. This bill must make Rep. Gray the darling of the Democratic Socialist Party. Rep. Gray’s number is 866-465-4940.

8. HB 46 Child Care Providers – Collective Bargaining; Rep. Zack Fields, D Anchorage:

“HB 46 would empower our small business childcare providers to negotiate with the state to improve wages, working conditions, and training.”  

My HB 46 analysis:

Forces more single-parent families to seek public assistance by raising childcare costs significantly.  This bill also empowers submission and dependency on government entitlements. What parents don’t get forced out of the workplace will suffer even more under Bidenomics.  Rep. Fields’ number is 888-465-2647.

7. HB 156, Income Tax, Rep. Alyse Galvin, Not Affiliated-Anchorage:

“Nobody wants to implement a tax on Alaskans, but we are out of time and out of options. Through a broad-based tax, Alaskans will now have a direct stake in the state government spending responsibly.”  

My HB 156 analysis:

Well, somebody wants to raise taxes and it’s the very personable Rep. Galvin. I respectfully recommend that the representative look at the “options” Sen. Mike Shower and Rep. Ben Carpenter have proposed on a sustainable, comprehensive approach. Also, kindly consider the truth in advertising and drop the “Not Affiliated” label; you are very much affiliated with the “left fork” Democrat policy. Rep. Galvin’s number is 800-922-3875.

6. HB  43, Conversion Therapy Ban, Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau: 

“HB 43 would prohibit physicians, physician assistants, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychological associates, and other “practitioners of the healing arts” licensed by the state from treating a person under the age of 18, as well as vulnerable adults, with a therapy or regimen that seeks to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. Nothing in the legislation affects any individual’s expressive speech, tenets, or practices outside of that context.” 

My HB 43 analysis: 

A wolf in sheep’s wool? If this bill included banning LBGTQ conversion pressure by the education community in our public schools, and academia in our universities, we would have a level playing field.  For good measure, throw in conversion and grooming attempts with drag queen story hours in our libraries. The disclaimer in the sponsor statement about free speech, tenants, or practices is a red flag. 

In the sponsor statement, Rep. Story quotes a San Francisco State University study about high suicide rates associated with “conversion therapy” from LBGTQ to strait.  One canreasonably argue that all the gender confusion now embedded in our schools may be the root source of these high suicide rates. The sponsor’s intent is to ban a parent’s ability to seek professional help when their child has a gender crisis. Rep. Story’s number is 800-968-6744. Please be thoughtfully restrained if you call. 

5. SB 52, Base Student Allocation Increase; Senate Education Committee, (Sen. Loki Tobin, Chair, D-Anchorage): 

“In recent years, flat funding and inflation have degraded Alaska’s vital system of public education. Without additional funding, Alaska will see increasingly large class sizes and continued teacher and staff attrition.” 

My SB52 analysis:

Senator Shower crunched the numbers last session on this same issue. Teachers (and ultimately students) have been getting the short stick with every increase. Plus, the multipliers in the formula actually cost more than represented. Kindly explain why more money assumes better education outcomes when no accountability measures are included?  Sen. Tobin’s number is 888-330-3704

4. SB 88, Restore Defined Benefits; Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage: 

“SB 88 addresses Alaska’s workforce challenges with recruitment and retention head-on through establishing a new defined benefit retirement plan for police officers and firefighters, teachers, and all other public employees. Recruitment and retention are essential aspects of any successful organization and investing in our public service employees should be a top priority.”

My SB 88 analysis:

Sen. Bert Stedman was the prime advocate of eliminating defined benefits (and if memory serves me, it was an unfunded unsustainable liability then, and remains an unfunded liability today). Is Sen. Giessel doing the same thing and expecting a different result? Sen. Giessel’s number is 800-892-4843.

3. HB 90, Cap Dividend at $1,000; Rep. Fields, D-Anchorage:

“House Bill 90 gives the legislature the authority to appropriate funds for a dividend, and it caps that amount at $1,000.”

My HB 90 analysis:

My liberal friends truly believe to the core, that protecting or creating a government job is economic development. More money for the government is like blood to cancer. Rep. Field’s number is 888-465-2647.

2. HB 185, Permanent Fund Dividend Tax; Rep. Fields, D Anchorage:

“HB 185 establishes a Permanent Fund Dividend income tax rebate for working-class families while maintaining net-zero taxes on higher income families. Under this bill’s structure, individuals earning $75,000 and families earning $150,000 or more would pay annual income taxes equivalent to each year’s PFD, while lower income earners and all children would continue to receive PFDs.”

My HB 185 analysis:

See the Zobel case, (Alaska Supreme Court). This measure probably runs contrary to equal protection issues in Zobel. This approach ignores Wally Hickel’s, “Owner State” doctrine that recognizes that the state, not the people, holds the ownership of all post-statehood subsurface mineral estate, and your PFD is a dividend from your share of said public mineral estate ownership. This reveals the “left fork” philosophy of the public labor lobby: cap the PFD, and tax the rest.  Rep. Field’s number is 888-465-2647.

1. SB 61, US President Elected with Popular Vote; The number one partisan, “left fork” policy legislation award goes to: The powerful Senate Majority Rules Chairman, Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage: 

“SB 61 would have Alaska join the 15 other states and the District of Columbia who have already joined the agreement. Together these states have 195 electoral votes. Once states totaling a majority of the Electoral College (currently 270 votes) join the agreement, these states will begin to award their electoral votes to the presidential ticket that receives the most votes nationwide. Until this threshold is reached, Alaska will continue to allocate its electoral votes to the winner of the statewide vote.”  

My SB 61 analysis:

These 15 “other states” are the same blue states and national Democratic Party that gave us: The invasion of our borders by thousands of military-age foreign nationals, 2nd class crime-and-tent cities, smash-and-grab felony shopping, thousands upon thousands of fentanyl deaths, no ID voting, runaway inflation, an endless war in the most corrupt nation on earth…. Ukraine, over-lorded by the most corrupt president in history, Biden. 

With the passage of SB 61, absolute power to select who is president will be ceded to a few large population blue coastal states.  Alaska will be forever marginalized. The founders understood the dangers of consolidating the selection of the president to large population centers.  Thus, the electoral college system was adopted.  Sen. Wielechowski’s number is 800-550-2435.

 In conclusion:

Apathy is the enemy of freedom.  The relentless attacks by the “Left Fork,” from both government and academia, undermine our freedom and liberty – liberty that was paid for by the blood and lives of many patriots who served, fought and died to keep us free.  Never forget that sacrifice, or we very well could be one short generation from tyranny.  

Scott Ogan is recently retired as a senior policy advisor to Senator Mike Shower, having served in that capacity from January 2019 – May 2023.

24 COMMENTS

  1. I suppose the next clinical limiter is: is what is written in an “invoice”/bill on its face compliant at all with the US Constitition? Absent any due processes at all in Alaska for determining this Constitutionality presently may be a moot point. Another limiter, hypothetically speaking, would be who literally has or should have in a republic form (otherwide known as shape) of government: legislative, executive, judicial, only three (3, not 4 or more agencies) coequal branches of the republic (i.e. not mob rule, aka “democracy”or fifty percent plus one rules) juris diction? For example: may I in my own juris diction walk peacefully though uninvitedly to my neighbor’s door and tell him to remove his hat immediately and the hats of all his children and guests and to place cloth rags over their faces forevermore until I say so?

    No? Why not?

    Because I, A. Galeution, bring my own and only my own jurris diction to my coronation as ruler in Juneau. per se. Just as the others do.

  2. 1-We took the left fork years ago. Cautionary tales of where it might lead are pointless.
    Each and every one of these items were predictable 10 years ago, many longer. Instead of rehashing the past, ideas on how to combat the present would be more helpful.

    2-This is a self inflicted wound by we the Alaskan people, with a strong assist from a feckless and impotent Republican Party. As long as Alaskans can’t be bothered to vote, or vote myopically for the letter and not the person, this will not change. I see little to make me believe people will bother to vote now.

    3-I disagree strongly we are running out of fossil fuels and natural resources. We sit on top of more untapped resources than most of OPEC combined. We suffer from a mix of unwillingness and inability to maximize said resources. A great deal of this is self inflicted by our own voting habits.

    4-Outflow of population will continue the further left we lurch. And we will lurch further left until people get involved in the political system and the AK GOP continues to be a bad mix of feckless and impotent. I personally am a big advocate for parents of school age children to consider relocating south for the sake of said children.

    5-We are a blue state in willful decline.

    6-It has been attributed to Sherlock Holmes. “If I am offensive, you may take it I am offended”. Other than Mike Shower, the elected leadership of Alaska at every level are a pathetic combination of: feckless, corrupt, incompetent, indolent, political whores. If the electorate chooses to call them everything but children of God (few are), said abuse is the result of them (our elected officials) earning said abuse and scorn. Frankly they deserve much worse, but that would require us to act like Democrats.

    I agree to not verbally abusing the people who answer the phones-provided they, too, are civil. Far too many are not.

  3. Thank you, Scott. It’s great to see someone taking the time to disclose these bills. We should all be raising the questions of why we even need these public policies in a state of under 3/4 of a million people with the largest employer being government. The disconnect between “There ought to be a law” in Alaska and the cost of operating and maintaining that law appears not to be part of the public’s wheelhouse or concern. It’s too bad. When will we start to embrace the real purpose of Alaska as a natural resource development state or will we continue to believe a bureaucratic hegemony is better?

  4. In our shape of government a republic notwithstanding in Alaska? No. The republic still stands even though the doctors and their international cohorts may have not studied one evident hour of our US Constitution nor taken an oath to secure and defend it though it contains natural, unalienable rights of their neighbors given equally and naturally by God.

  5. So how do we know if we have juris diction today? Well if we have subject matter and personal juris diction that would be a good start before we begin ruling or writing rules. Who are we ruling? Do we know? Do we have juris diction of the rules for employees of the State of Alaska Corporation while they are at their union job they have to obey us? Do we pause and think about this at all? Are we ruling only over only ourselves? Is that our actual juris diction? Oh, this thinking is too hard. Is what we are writing “rules” we, ourselves, agree to obey while we are in the clock like how much of a pfd we agree to pay to the people if we feel like it, perhaps? What are we doing here for six months? Creating onions?

  6. Every one of these proposals seek to mariginalize those of us in the private sector that keep this ball of mud in motion. If we stop doing what we do, everybody freezes and starves.

  7. Yes, the left is always looking to be in control of the people, one way or another. They will NEVER be willing to admit that they work for the people, not the other way around. However, the people have to be willing to be strong managers of their workers and fire them when they refuse to perform to their best abilities. That is what is happening now. What say ye, people? Are you strong managers?

  8. Is Juneau rewriting the equivalent of the US Constitution each January 1? How novel. Or are you writing or revising bylaws for a corporation formed subsequently but pursuant to a federalized financially challenged corporation? What is its true status? Why don’t you ask the federal representatives who gather in possibly DC? What changes if any are there, truly. Or just go through meaningless, copious billable to the people hours. “What difference does it make now.” – Hillary Clinton

  9. I am confused, are these bills that will potentially go on the ballots or are they Bills that the legislators pass without a vote? If they pass as real law; they will definitely wipe out a number of reasons we moved to Alaska.

    • Rae, All bills that pass become law. The only exceptions are constitutional amendments and advisory votes. Example: Years go, the people voted to move the Capitol, but the vote was only advisory. It never moved because it was never law.

      These are in my view, some of the worst. There were others, and some really good ones, mostly suggested by the “right fork.” Luckily, the republicans control the committees in the house, but democrats control most committees in the senate. So most controversial legislation by both parties will die in the other body.

  10. As far as the media aspect goes, the bias in reporting is based on who is paying their bills, through advertising. They will never report negative news about any of their major sponsors. This is why the news has focused most of their report on dissection of the weather. Nothing to report here, folks.

  11. Well said Scot. Tyranny is already at our door. We are – as never before – one ELECTION away from communist dictatorship.

  12. While Mr. Ogan may be over the target with most of his analysis regarding these bills, his lack of care regarding public corruption while working for Senator Shower gives me pause to the validity of his views. I don’t agree with SB 88 either, but if Mr. Ogan and the others can’t even simply question the Executive Branch regarding public employment corruption when it’s handed to him, I doubt his true concern for accountability.

  13. As more people leave Alaska for better opportunities, the remaining voters who do not care about education and public services will collect bigger PFD checks.

  14. Let me get this straight. They now want to enshrine the dividend theft in the form of taxation? Just wanna make it legal and all of that. How do they explain taxing each and man woman and child for the last 11 years? Do what they may, but I imagine state taxes will decomate Alaskas population.

  15. “…….This measure equates to the possible importation of very expensive Liquified Natural Gas into Alaska causing significant increases in electrical and heating costs……..”
    Here it is again. Importing what I can only assume is Russian gas because some Corrupt *astar* is being offered a super sweet deal because Vlad needs cash right now for North Korean artillery shells. Clearly, we’re dealing with some sort of conspiracy here. Time to start stacking firewood and getting ready for SHTF in Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Shutting off the gas pressure is going to be a guaranteed recipe for National Guard responses to riots. This ain’t California, Folks. We aren’t talking about air conditioning here. If homes lose heat, stuff breaks.
    Go ahead; screw this up. I think I can hear Robespierre in the next room even now……….

  16. “…….A wolf in sheep’s wool?……..”
    More aptly an agent of Hades in the Emperor’s invisible garments.

  17. Scott, thanks for the bill analysis. In summary, all these bills grow government, take private property, and take from those who can and give to those who won’t. HB184, Short Term Rental Unit Registry, is a policy that is being spread across the Nation by the Left. The Left argues those who own short term rentals are depriving the homeless of a place to live. Eventually, there will also be a ceiling on the number of STRUs in local jurisdictions. And once the property changes hands the STRU will not be grandfathered so the buyer cannot use the property as a short term rental unit.

    HB156, Income Tax by Rep Alyse Galvin. Remember, Rep Galvin was a founder of the Great Alaska Schools and coordinated very closely with the Anchorage Education Association (teachers union) to get more and more money for a mediocre, at best, education system. Now we have Not-So-Great Alaska Schools.

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