Tim Barto: Social issue bills to watch in Juneau



It’s late in the game for the 33rd Alaska Legislature, and when it comes to social agenda items, the outcome is still to be determined. Here are four key bills in that category Alaska Family Council is keeping an eye on.

1. At first glance, SB 24 sounds rather innocuous, a piece of legislation that will help public school students with mental health issues; however, the mandatory lessons it dictates will be crafted by state-level bureaucrats and there is a wide swath down which the topic of mental health can travel if this bill becomes law.

Giving education bureaucrats the authority to develop mental health guidelines for children is a dangerous proposition, as we’ve all seen what leftist idealogues do when developing curriculum. Are topics such as racism, equity, sexuality, and gender going to creep their way into the topic of mental health? SB 24 opens that door, and attempts to shut that door via amendments from Senator Shelley Hughes unfortunately failed by large margins.

SB24 passed the Senate by a 15 to 4 vote, with the four dissenting votes coming from Republicans Bjorkman, Hughes, Kaufman, and Shower. It has three House Committees to clear including Health & Social Services, Judiciary, and Finance.

2. HB 17 was introduced by Representative Ashley Carrick of Fairbanks with the goal of extending insurance coverage for contraceptive prescriptions to 12 months.Carrick, who probably surprised many people – to include Jim Minnery – by appearing on his podcast, I’m Glad you Said That (Click here to listen to that interview) said the legislation does not include abortifacients (pills that keep fertilized eggs from attaching to a woman’s uterine wall).

We are watching this legislation closely and are aware many Alaskans have valid concerns about the morality and safety of birth control medication, the expanding role of Government in this arena as well as whether this opens doors that need to remain shut.

As with SB 24, this bill’s language leaves loopholes that may be exploited to include abortifacients or other “morning after” drugs. HB 17 passed through the House by a vote of 26 to 9, with the following Republican Representatives voting against its passage: Carpenter, Eastman, Johnson, McCabe, Rauscher, Saddler, Tilton, Tomaszewski, and Vance. It’s been sent to the Senate and assigned to the Health & Social Services and the Labor & Commerce Committees.

3. In regards to bills that support basic biology and common sense, HB 183 is at the top of the list. This bill was introduced by Eagle River Representative Jamie Allard who is enthusiastic about saving girls’ sports for girls.

With help from Alaska Family Council, the Education Committee heard invited testimony from an outstanding group of experts, to include Riley Gaines, All-American swimmer and de facto leader of the movement to female sports from desecration by males declaring themselves female.

Alaska Family Council also played a critical role in ensuring that more than 70% of the written testimony was supportive of protecting girls sports.

HB 183 passed out of the Education Committee and is now in the hands of the House Judiciary Committee before hopefully going through the Rules Committee for a floor vote of the whole House.

4. HB 338 is another Jamie Allard-sponsored bill. The Eagle River representative is not afraid to put herself on record as standing up for what is right and moral, and she is willing to take the abuse and name-calling thrown in her direction.

This bill has to do with holding physicians civilly liable for the damage done to minors during sex change procedures on minors. It is brief, to the point, and much needed if Alaska is to save our children from the misguided ambitions of adults who should know better. The first hearing on HB338 will be in the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, April 10th.

It will be interesting, especially in this election year, to see who is willing to go on record for common sense and decency, especially when it comes to HB 183 and HB 338. 

Next week, we’ll get you up to speed on a few other bills related to protecting unborn life and parental rights. Stay tuned and ready to engage.

Tim Barto is vice president of operations at Alaska Family Council.


  1. If HB 17 passes, Alaskans who are opposed to birth control can simply not ask their health care provider for a prescription.

    • You’re missing an important point – we don’t want to pay for your “birth control” or abortion drugs through any government program or any insurance.

  2. Each year Juneau thinks we need more laws and rules.
    Every law passed is lost freedoms for the masses.
    We need laws passed that limit what politicians can do.

  3. Butchering children, defined as people under the age of 18 years needs to be federally abolished and then those who perform these surgeries need to be thrown in prison for life without parole.

  4. We might cast a wider net in looking at social issue bills. SB 173 would allow school districts to train people to be armed in schools. The bill received strong public testimony in the Senate Judiciary Committee, including compelling testimony from a fellow who lost his daughter in the Florida school shooting and from someone who was directly impacted by the Bethel school shooting of several years ago. The only opposition testimony came from people organized by the national organization Moms Against Guns (or something like that). Committee members voiced no opposition. But the bill is stuck in that committee. The committee chair is Senator Claman.

    Stuck in the same committee is HJR 3, which passed the House with strong support from all over the state and from all political standpoints. It asks Congress for national concealed carry reciprocity. It’s stuck in the same committee. These are social issues to real people in Alaska held up by the attorney who chairs the committee. An email to the committee could help right now.

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