When do veiled threats become illegal acts of coercion in the Legislature? Story of a bill held hostage

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Senators Bill Wielechowski and Scott Kawasaki.

In recent days, veiled threats by House Minority Leader Rep. Calvin Schrage against Speaker Cathy Tilton and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Cathy Giessel against Senate President Gary Stevens might be chalked up to careless hyperbole during a heated debate.

Schrage made an “if-then” threat against Tilton, and Giessel menaced the Senate president by saying that if her amendment didn’t pass, his house would get broken into. The statements came close to coercion.

But there’s another possible form of coercion going on in the Capitol: Horse trading run amuck. In the halls of the building, members of the body are saying that Sen. Bill Wielechowski is holding the House hostage by not allowing as many as nine bills to come to the floor — unless the House passes Sen. Scott Kawasaki’s rewrite of House Bill 129, which originally was a bill from Rep. Srarah Vance to clean up Alaska’s voter registration rolls.

Kawasaki hijacked HB 129 by by inserting multiple bills into it, with election ideas from the Democrats, including having the government pay for the stamps on mail-in ballots.

The terms of the deal Wielechowski is said to offering the House is that it either concurs with the new bill version or the House bills won’t be heard; as Rules chair, Wielechowski has the power to enforce that.

Vance already told the Senate Finance Committee on Monday that she would not be able to get concurrence on the bill, after Kawasaki completely gutted it and made it into a different bill.

Wielechowski is a political ally of Kawasaki. Both are Democrats — Wielechowski is from Anchorage, Kawasaki is from Fairbanks. They’re both part of the Democrat majority in the Senate. Both want to increase vote by mail, which is what Kawasaki’s rewrite of Vance’s bill does, in party.

When horse trading become coercion, then the aspect of public corruption is a concern, because it requires a legislator to vote in a certain way — in a way they would not normally vote — in order to have their own bills moved. That is a concern now being expressed in the hallways of the Capitol.

23 COMMENTS

  1. And additional evidence to reinforce a personal bias towards politicians in general. I recall conversation with a former legislative member who bragged on acquiring “Chits” from other legislators for his/her vote. Reading situations such as this, confirms the bias. Cheers

    • Where is Kendal?
      Mr big pants is awfully quiet as he is always in the middle of suing somebody in the government.

  2. And EMS & Fire’s HB 57 is in the fray of those being held hostage. We need the protections this bill was to provide…. EMS stands to
    Lose clinicians and volunteer medical directors now that it is dying tomorrow. It has been stuck in Rules since 8 April 2024. That says it all…. Shame on you, Rules Chair!

  3. The coercion is multi layered. What does a Senator at the federal level do when he decides to impede or vote against reauthorizing the warrantless searches of all phone, email and social media platforms against US citizens inside our country conducted by our multiagency intelligence services and FBI when the CIA Director drops by for a little private chat? “Adorable grandchildren you have, be a shame if they suffered an accident”, or any number of “tools” are at their disposal, which they will use to insure continuity of what has become a police state. Our Alaska politicians are so compromised and mediocre to begin with and generally incompetent that these low level threats and chicken scratch bribes are more than enough to enforce conformity.

    • B-Simpson … While many would think you’re a “Conspiracy Theorist,” insisting these types of comments are unsubstantiated and unhealthy, prompting dis-trust in such fine establishments – institutions (ie: Agencies), disrespecting the individuals working and managing these fine Agencies of high integrity and honor.

      However, I think you’re … “SPOT-ON!” and completely “AGREE!”
      There’s too much circumstantial evidence to think otherwise.

  4. Welcome to politics 101. Bullying and horse trading have been going on forever. Legislation is like hot dogs, best not watched while it is being made.

  5. We can blame all of this on Kelly Merrick and Luise Stutes for making Democrats the majority. Those two have to go.

  6. Democrats always resort to violence and intimidation. Even when getting what they want.

    Giessel knew full well what she was saying, it’s full implications, and that she’d face zero repercussions.

    • One of these days some person with a case of bad wiring and a “certain moral flexibility” is going to get rubbed the wrong way by something said or done by one of these exemplars of worst-human-personality-characteristics (ie politicos) and then they’re gonna bring the maximum repercussions. Just to be clear this statement is not advocating. It is prediction.

      • Already happened.

        James Hogskinson tried to murder the Republican members of the House. Damn near killed Steve Scalise. Inspired by Rachel Maddow

        Floyd Lee Corkins attempting mass murder at the Family Research Council because they oppose alphabet gang issues.

  7. The Senate version has same day registration, no real proof of residency. Bad bad bill. Vance was naive to give the Senate this opportunity. .

    This us exactly what I predicted in two articles.

    • Would it be reasonable, Scott, to assume same-day registration and no real proof of residency are intended to end any possibility of fair and honest elections in Alaska?
      .
      If this bill appearing to legalize election fraud under color of law is signed into law, do you think the national GOP’s new leadership might be persuaded to help get the law’s sponsor(s) before a federal grand jury as conspirators to commit election fraud under the color of law statute, especially since Republicans are the intended victims?

  8. Ive also heard that staff is holding up good legislation. Since WHEN do we vote in staff?!!!! This senate caucus is the worst Alaskans have ever been subjected to. I feel really sorry for the house majority who got good legislation all the way to senate rules or senate finance and there it sits.

  9. Good move Dave. For too many Alaskans, moving out her state isn’t practical. We need to endure and survive the decisions of the ruling class, now empowered in Juneau. All we can do is vote.

  10. Bills have been dying in committee for years. Dunleavy had three would be constitutional amendments die in committee that would have given Alaskans the right to vote on their own taxes, constitutionalize the PTFD, and one other one, all done when he first became governor. As usual, there was no support from GOP couch potatoes. As for bringing the legislature to Wasilla, that was also tried, but they simply refused to show up. For some reason, Alaskans continue to look upon the legislature as the “peoples’ representatives.” Dream on.

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