Speaker Louise Stutes fears going to Juneau because of Covid, wants governor to cancel Special Session on supplemental dividend, fiscal solution

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Speaker Louise Stutes sent a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Friday saying that it’s not safe to be in Juneau because of Covid-19, and therefore she wants the Special Session, due to start Monday, to be cancelled.

In reality, Juneau is the home of some of the most Covid-vaccinated people in America, and may be the safest place in the state for lawmakers. But Stutes doesn’t want to risk it.

According to the most recent data available from the New York Times, 89 percent of Juneauites over the age of 65 are vaccinated for Covid-19, while 77 percent over the age of 18 are vaccinated for it, and 76 percent of those over the age of 12 are vaccinated.

Stutes said in her letter, “Alaska is currently experiencing its highest infection rate-the most per capita in the nation-of the COVID-I9 pandemic. You have wisely safeguarded the health of departmental employees by directing them to work from home until further notice, yet you ask that 60 legislators plus staff return to Juneau to conduct in
person proceedings. Including partisan and support staff, the health of hundreds of people will be put at risk to address items that we have yet to gain consensus on. Cost is another factor that should be considered. it would be incredibly costly to the state to engage the legislature for yet a fourth special session,” she said.

Stutes said in her letter that the supplemental dividend is not important enough to call a special session:

“Throughout the year. we have worked in good faith towards a fiscal plan and that will continue regardless. A special session is not necessary for the legislature to continue its work. Committees can continue hearings. have ample time to involve the public. and craft good public policy that has been well vetted. The legislature has passed a balanced budget, avoided burdening Alaskans with taxes, and provided an $1,100 PFD. Legislators are dedicated to achieving a complete solution and we will continue to work diligently towards that end,” she wrote.

Juneau rates itself in the “red” zone for Covid. CovidActNow, a group whose board members include Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins, rates Juneau’s risk as “very low” and at the same time says the risk is “severe.” Kreiss-Tompkins told the Legislature in 2020 that Covid would be a die-off event for Alaska, with tens of thousands of deaths.

Juneau’s vaccination rate is higher than the top cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland. Juneau’s Bartlett Memorial Hospital has open beds in all departments, according to the most recent State data:

73 COMMENTS

  1. The flu is now used as an excuse to miss work, not pay your rent, take your job away from you, make you wear a mask, inject your child against your wishes & keep parents away from their newborn child.
    If you still think this is all about a virus which 99.8% of the entire population survives then you are lost.

  2. Send the State Troopers to bring any legislator who does not want to return. I would have them physically restrained until they faithfully execute their obligation to We the People. They have failed in their obligations and as such should be treated as criminals.

  3. This “problem” can be solved immediately with a letter of resignation from Ms Stutes. Then maybe some business can be done.

  4. Let’s read between the lines here. Speaker Stutes wants nothing to do with red herring constitutional amendments. Neither do I. So we are sympatico with that as long as she doesn’t try to impose additional taxes on Alaska workers and families. Dunleavy’s proposed amendments are nonsense and totally unnecessary. If enacted, they would drive us towards these taxes and further into socialism where producers are penalized to support a government dependency class. It blows my mind that so-called conservatives are the ones driving us towards increased socialism. Cancel this silly dog and pony show, pay our debts (oil tax credits and the CBR from the PFER), maintain discipline on drawing sustainable revenue from the Permanent Fund, and pay a dividend from the surplus revenue if any. Personally, I would end the Dividend program right now and use that surplus revenue for capital projects and deferred maintenance. But that is a whole other subject.

    • Thank you Chris for donating $1109 of your PFD to the tax payers of the State. You are a man who does not only talk but takes action. Very commendable.

    • If the Dividend is taken before the legislature gets its hands on it, before a budget is created, and that portion goes to the people like a stock/bond dividend, it’s not socialistic. But to do that state government will have to live within it’s means from the remaining monies available from all sources and not raise taxes to replace the dividend monies. The dividend needs to be completely separate from the state budget.

    • No, that is pretty much the end-all, be-all for folks like yourself. How dare we, the little people, rise up and demand that which is owed us. You and your ilk would find a way to spend the entire $83+ billion, it would be gone in 10 years and you’d be back for more. Go to the back of the room, broken record, all I hear from you is bothersome noise.

    • You sound like the liberal left wingers in the legislature and a few Rinos. I disagree with everything you wrote . I’ve read between the lines. She’s using the golden goose of covid to kick Alaska’s fiscal plan further down the road.

    • You end the PFD you’ll have more serious scoundrels than we have now, siding up to take their portion to deliver to GCI, Lynden, and other big contractors, donors, and non profits like Rasmuson’s all with their hands already deep into the state pocket. It’ll be gone in 10 years. If you really want it gone, give people their subsurface mineral rights back, pay them back what was stolen, and then: LET THEM VOTE ON IT. Don’t just decree you and the ruling class elites think the citizens are too dumb to spend it and that only you chosen few know where it should go. You want to just arbitrarily take it away? That’s why literally NO ONE in Alaska trusts the government any more, not one iota. They didn’t ask, they took. They took and told us all they knew better and we didn’t deserve it or know what to do with it. They betrayed Alaska, and that rift grows wider every year. You want to have a conversation, that’s fine, but make it right and take your case to the people. From what I can tell, these amendments and the larger effort to get the full PFD back, are an effort to do just that; restore the trust and let the people decide. Not every issue should be run by the whole constituency, we are a constitutional republic, even if Alaska’s was written by socialists from California, but some issues are important enough and accessible enough, like the PFD, and taxes, that dramatically affect all Alaskans, that they should all have a say. Especially when it’s patently obvious how cheap and easy it’s been for our so called representatives to have been bought off for so many years…

    • Fine. Let’s read between the lines. If speaker Stutes’ TRUE reason for not wanting to attend a 4th special session is, as you say, to avoid the red herring, then let her be honest and say so. Hiding behind the charlie one-niner is a COWARDLY COP-OUT, and I eagerly await her letter of resignation in protest. And let’s read between some more lines. Ending the dividend program and paying out the surplus revenue to government capital projects and “maintenance” is no less of a socialist program than the personal dividend payout that you claim to abhor. The original spirit and intent of the dividend program was to treat each and every Alaskan as stakeholder and co-owner of the natural resources of our state. Once a year, the stakeholders get a bonus, the amount of which depends upon the market value of the resources extracted. Private and government money are invested in the systems used to harvest and deliver those resources to the market, but the actual raw material belongs to the people. If there are those who wish to irresponsibly trade their resource money on beer and weed rather than re-invest in some other productive venture, then so be it. No amount of redistribution into equally irresponsible government hands that fail to spend and budget appropriately will solve that problem.

  5. Louise, you don’t want to do the job? Resign. All conservatives would appreciate your self removal from Alaskan politics. Same for Zaletel, save the municipality the cost of your recall election and quit.

  6. Maybe she can just stay home telephonically onto the House floor and committees. But! When are a leader its their responsibility to be at battlefront with your soldiers risking their life for us country citizens. State business must be dealt with and not delayed cause the country folk need to eat and live in peace.

  7. Hey, if she is scared to do her job, she should resign. This continual use of Covid for the excuse to terrorize people and blame for the failure of politicians to do their job is getting old. Covid is turning out to be no worse than a bad flu strain going through the population. The vaccine is worse than the disease, but the narrative continues.

  8. SOOooo…. Vaccinations, social distancing and masks work… until it’s convenient for them not too… then our elected leaders want to cower in their homes, shirking their official duties, because what they really don’t want to do is clean up the fiscal mess they are responsible for creating in the first place.

    The governor needs to hold firm and make them do what they were elected to do…

  9. Curious how nobody bothers to ask how Alaska can be experiencing a surge in Wuhan Virus cases, with a statewide jab (they cannot legitimately be called “vaccines”) rate of over 50%. If those jabs actually conferred ANY immunity to the virus, then they, along with the natural immunity acquired by those who have already contracted the Wuhan Virus, should be more than enough to assure herd immunity in this state.
    Yes, very curious indeed.

    • Jeff,
      I appreciate the fact that you’ve changed your terminology. Since the jab meets the definition of vaccine and the conferred immunity meets the definition of immunity. It is troubling that it took repeatedly explaining what the definition of the words vaccine and immunity are, but I’m willing to let bygones be bygones since you are no longer falsely claiming that the covid vaccine and immunity supplied do not meet the definition of a vaccine or immunity. However, they can still legitimately be called vaccines by definition and be said to confer immunity by definition.
      .
      We can explore the definition of the word “ANY” if you care to do so.

      • Steve, simply repeating the same misinformation and lies, no matter how strenuously you do it, does not make it true.
        .
        The mRNA jabs are NOT vaccines by any standard definition of the word, because they confer NO immunity to the virus, but only moderate the symptoms. As such, they are inherently incapable of preventing or even slowing the spread of the virus. This is in contrast to REAL vaccines, such as those for polio, mumps, and measles, which DO confer (in almost all cases) immunity to those viruses, and which DO inhibit the spread of those viruses.
        .
        All your Faucian obfuscation and propaganda merely serve to highlight your inherent dishonesty and perverse and coercive political agenda.

        • Jeff,
          You say “simply repeating the same misinformation and lies, no matter how strenuously you do it, does not make it true.” And yet you continue to do just that when presented with the actual definitions of the words you continue to simply deny exist. By standard definitions that I’ve provided to you repeatedly and you have not refute, simply because you can’t, these vaccines meet the definition of a vaccine and they provide immunity by definition.
          .
          You don’t like the vaccines or the immunity provided by them, but you cannot simply keep repeating the same obviously wrong talking points over and over and expect the definition of these words to suddenly conform to your faulty understanding of what they mean.

          • Steve, why do you keep trying to LIE here? It is a scientific fact, admitted by the CDC and Pfizer, among others in the power establishment, that the current COVID jabs do NOT confer immunity to the virus — they simply (tend to) alleviate the symptoms. They do NOT confer immunity to contracting the virus, and they do NOT confer immunity to spreading the virus to others once contracted.
            .
            You can attempt to hide behind sophistry all you want, and weasel ‘definitions’, but the simple fact is that these so-called “vaccines” are not vaccines, not by any normal or previous understanding of the word “vaccine”, which is something taken into the body, either orally or through intravenous injection, which PREVENTS the contraction of disease.
            .
            Please, enough with the dishonest rhetorical games and sophistry already! Stop digging yourself into a deeper hole of non-credibility here.

          • Jeff,
            How am I lying, by providing information that is detrimental to you beliefs?
            Standard definitions are now lies to you?
            .
            Here’s the deal you keep saying the same thing “by any standard definition” over and over, I keep providing standard definitions that demonstrate you are 100% without a doubt wrong. Instead of facing reality you continue to post misinformation or you are yourself outright knowingly lying. You don’t like the definition, so you make up your own and substitute your make believe definition for the standard definition, as if no one will notice. You are against the vaccine, you don’t need to continually make stuff up to be against the vaccine. Accept that the standard definition is what it is and that repeatedly saying these vaccines aren’t “by any standard definition” vaccines when in fact by any standard definition posted here they are in fact vaccines and the in fact confer the standard definition of immunity. They may not meet your made up definitions, but no one cares about your made up definitions, they are meaningless.

          • I am done wasting time with you, Steve. You are obviously a dishonest person with a closed mind, at best, if not a malicious and malevolent one. Your sophistry and LIES baldly showcase your true character, and it is an extremely ugly one.

          • Jeff,
            Take your ball and go home then. You call me a liar but can’t show where I’ve lied, what’s that make you buddy? You call me and others you disagree with names because you cannot support your misinformation and instead you resort to petty personal attacks. Sad.

          • Jefferson, I do like to read other opinions to get a feel for all sides of the issue, but this and some other trolls here have gone so over-the-top that now I often just skip over when I see their names (Bill, Greg), knowing that their ignorant talking points are just a waste of pixels.

        • Jeff,
          Here’s a standard definition of vaccine:
          a preparation containing live, attenuated (see ATTENUATION).or inactivated (killed) microorganisms (or some part or product of them), that is used to stimulate an IMMUNE RESPONSE in the recipient, which gains IMMUNITY. The Salk polio vaccine is an example of a vaccine that contains inactivated viruses, whereas the Sabin polio vaccine is a LIVE VACCINE. The name comes from the Latin vaccinus, ‘of cows’, and relates to the work of Edward JENNER on cowpox. Vaccines are not quick-acting, but rely on the recipient to build up a supply of ANTIBODIES gradually. Compare SERUM (3). See also COMBINATION VACCINE, DNA VACCINE, SUBUNIT VACCINE. Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005
          .
          Here’s a standard definition of immunity:
          The relative ability to resist infection or the effects of any toxic or dangerous substance. Immunity may be inherent or acquired as a result of prior infection or immunization. Active immunity involves the production of ANTIBODIES. Passive immunity is that conferred by antibodies derived from another person or animal and injected or received across the placenta or in the breast milk. Passive immunity is much less persistent than active immunity. Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005
          .
          As you can see your continued denial that these vaccines do not meet a standard definition of a vaccine is incorrect, your continued denial that these vaccines do not confer a standard definition of immunity is also incorrect.

    • Oh, and there are people questioning the surge in Alaska. Lots of people, yourself included…of course you are asking the wrong questions. Believe it or not, and you won’t, but it turns out that most of those catching covid are still unvaccinated. See, here’s the thing, everyone paying attention knew that there was a strong possibility that once people got vaccinated they were still able to catch and spread covid (this happens with lost of other vaccinations as well, so it’s not a conspiracy theory…or maybe it is, who knows there are too many to follow at this point). Natural immunity from those previously infected is also a question that many are asking, some ignorantly think that they cannot catch covid again, but that is not the case. So if you are unvaccinated and pretend like there isn’t a global pandemic going on, well for the most part, that’s on you.

    • Many reasons, one simple observation would be that not enough people wearing masks or getting vaccinations.
      .
      A more in depth observation would be what type of mask is being worn and is it being donned and doffed correctly. Which shots are being given, what percentage of the population is getting vaccinated, and is that a sufficient amount of the population?
      .
      Of course there is always the option that all modern science is wrong and we should go back to drinking the same water we defecate in and see how that works out.

      • Almost all the scientific studies demonstrate quite clearly that mass mask wearing by the public does NOTHING to stop or prevent disease transmission, and the mRNA jabs are NOT vaccines and do NOT provide immunity to this virus, they only help alleviate the symptoms. If you can just as easily contract a disease after taking a “vaccine” than if you did not take that “vaccine”, then the substance in question is, by definition, not a vaccine. And that is exactly the case with the Pfizer and Moderna jabs, as more and more evidence is demonstrating.
        .
        Steve, try reading independent sources of information for once, and stop relying on the propaganda of the corporate media to form the divorced-from-reality mental constructs in which you dwell.

      • Jeff,
        So you believe in anthropogenic global warming since almost all the scientific studies demonstrate quite clearly that man is causing global warming? Obviously you will jump off a bridge because all of your friends will.
        .
        You do get that the purpose of a vaccine is in part to alleviate and ameliorate symptoms of the disease right? You keep saying the same nonsense about definitions, but then you make your own up that are not based on any definition.
        .
        Here’s a few more standard definitions for you to peruse:
        vaccine[vak′sēn]
        (immunology)
        A suspension of killed or attenuated bacteria or viruses or fractions thereof, injected to produce active immunity. McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
        .
        immunity:
        The relative ability to resist infection or the effects of any toxic or dangerous substance. Immunity may be inherent or acquired as a result of prior infection or immunization. Active immunity involves the production of ANTIBODIES. Passive immunity is that conferred by antibodies derived from another person or animal and injected or received across the placenta or in the breast milk. Passive immunity is much less persistent than active immunity. Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005

        • So once again you attempt to obfuscate reality. A lie repeated a thousand times does not become the truth, despite the words of your apparent mentor (‘A lie told often enough becomes the truth.’ Vladimir Lenin)

        • Or: ‘never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.’ OSS analysis of Mein Kampf.

  10. Chris Nyman, so just give all the money to Daddy government and let them spend it all. Do you really think that once the earnings reserve account is depleted that they’re not going to come for you with taxes anyway?

  11. Conservative support the PFD because it supports the economy. Conservatives would much rather have that revenue go toward the people and the economy than spend it all on government, which is what you are advocating for.

  12. Thank you Chris for donating $1109 of your PFD to the tax payers of the State. You are a man who does not only talk but takes action. Very commendable.

  13. This is an attempt to avoid responsibility Our lawmakers have to settle the PFD issue and also to make the decision to cut the state labor force.
    The state has been staffed as if the price of oil was still well above what it has been for a couple of years.
    We all know state employees, but that doesn’t mean we need to sacrifice fiscal health just to keep over-staffed departments in a paycheck.

  14. Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins, rates Juneau’s risk as “very low” and at the same time says the risk is “severe.” ???????

  15. Put on a N-95 face mask, latex/nitrile gloves, your “big girl pants” and get yourself to Juneau! Personally, I would rather split the entire Permanent Fund: one-half for govt. and one-half for the people that were deemed eligible in 2020 for the 2021 PFD. End of story, but the legislators would never agree to let the people have their entire half of the Fund.

  16. It’s rich Louise is afraid of Juneau after having practically lived there this year.

    If you had done your job and followed the statue, you wouldn’t be facing this conundrum now.

    If Dunleavy has the stones to send the troopers, send them to her first. And get gavel to gavel to cover it live.

  17. Huh. She wasn’t to concerned about money and had nothing to say when lawmakers decided to skip a session and go fishing. This wasted one full special session.

  18. The sudden spike in cases makes me wonder;

    The cases were starting to level out and things were getting “back to normal”. Then we have a massive vaccine roll-out and suddenly and “coincidentally” cases sky rocket like never before.

    When Covid-19 made its debut we were told that it could spread through respiratory droplets. Now it seems since the “Delta Variant” AKA vaccine roll-out, the virus has become airborne. At least that is how it appears by how fast it is now spreading.

    Did the vaccine weaponize the populace to be super spreaders? Something to think about for sure.

    On a side note, ever see someone exhaling while wearing a mask in the cold weather? Yeah, all those droplets blast out through and around those silly masks.

    There was a person who showed up to the assembly meeting wearing a full on filter mask with a rubber seal.

    I say if there is a mandate, then the weak and vulnerable should be mandated to wear biohazard suits. Leave the healthy people alone!

    • Well in the rest of the US (and numerous other places around the world) cases relayed to Delta spiked and then dropped, while we in Alaska lagged behind…anyone who has lived in Alaska for any amount of time understands this phenomenon. Now we are spiking but we will likely drop soon. Everyone paying attention knew that there was a strong possibility that once people got vaccinated they were still able to catch and spread covid (this happens with lots of other vaccinations as well, so it’s not a conspiracy theory…or maybe it is, who knows there are too many to follow at this point).
      .
      By the way, the Delta variant came out before the vaccine was rolled out so you can put that conspiracy theory to bed.

  19. The lack of logic in this whole C19 crap that’s been transpiring over the last 2 years is phenomenal. I’m guessing that the speaker is fully “vaccinated”. I’m also guessing that the majority of the legislators are too. Perhaps some aren’t. Logic dictates that if she’s vaccinated she shouldn’t be in fear of the big bad Covid bug. Is there something about the vaccination that she knows that she’s not telling us? That’s a rhetorical question for those that don’t understand sarcasm and rhetoric.

  20. Time for her to resign and move to California with birds of similar feather. Think of it as a “Go Fund Me Opportunity” to improve Alaska!

  21. With an 89% vaccination rate Juneau should be the safest place in the State if the shot really worked!

  22. So, have it here in Anchorage and in a venue that we can all attend (just not on assembly night/s)! Might be fun to have them screw us face to face for a change.

  23. So, what does this tell us:
    .
    1. The clot-shot is exactly that, and offers very little protection against contracting or spreading COVID
    2. Masks offer the wearer little if any protection
    OR
    3. She not had the shot, and is actually too terrified to risk the known side-effects
    .
    Thank you for the clarification.

  24. If Stutes doesn’t feel comfortable attending in person why can she not attend via TEAM or Zoom? Surely the legislature has a platform for attending long distance? Not sure why her discomfort about attendance is an issue and why a meeting would be canceled. Use the technology.

  25. Everyone’s worried about Covid but not the least bit worried Biden and hospitals are firing the medical staff that are tasked with keeping you alive! At the same time the hospitals are are declaring emergency staffing shortages while letting people die from lack of ability to provide care, “but the shortages are not because of the Mandate”! Over the next 75 days the lower 48 will start having massive shortages due to the mandate, Alaska will not be able to get a travel nurse let alone the large numbers we will need. Then Alaskans will be dying left and right from lack of basic medical care. But don’t worry about it and don’t do anything about it. Let’s just keep on keeping on and do what we are told. Fire those nurses!

  26. Ok, if the Speaker of the House refuses to come to Juneau, then let’s bring the session to Kodiak!
    For my money the fish tacos at the Rendezvous at mile 6 in Kodiak are way better table fare then anything I’ve ever eaten at the Hanger or any other Juneau eatery. Perhaps a change of venue and diet is what our clown car leaderless Legislative body really needs?
    Couldn’t hurt.

  27. She should love it here. Juneau is full of Liberals. I see folks wearing masks outside, on the hiking trails, in their cars. We have the vaunted Emergency Operations Committee which shuts everything down and monitors everything. They’ve had their powers extended about 4 times now with the recent one till 3/31/22. Its safe Ms Stutes.

    • They are not “liberals”, Jim! Please stop using that word to refer to authoritarians, statists and sociopaths. It only gives them credit that they do not deserve.

  28. The conversation here should be about the lack of business conducted by the Legislature, not everyone’s opinion regarding mandatory masking and the vaccines.

  29. Stutesifying. This isn’t about the virus, and it’s only a small bit about the PFD – this is about Louise getting reelected when she knows her constituents are angry. Time to quit Louise.

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