Alaskans have been looking at states like Florida, Arizona, and Texas lately, as places that are the land of the free and home of the brave compared to the Last Frontier, which is taking a socialist turn for the worst.
Other Red State legislatures are working on substantive legislation, such as promoting civics education, voting security, gun rights, and heartbeat bills.
Some Alaskans are asking: Why can’t the Legislature of Alaska provide bills of substance for Gov. Mike Dunleavy to sign?
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed bills last month to strengthen civics instruction and civics literacy in Florida’s kindergarten through postsecondary public schools.
HB 5 had 28 sponsors in the Florida House. It requires the Department of Education to develop or approve integrated civics education curriculum that meets certain requirements; requires the Education Department to curate oral history resources to be used with the curriculum; and requires the Department to approve civic education curricula submitted by school districts & charter schools.
Florida’s SB 1108 requires non-special education postsecondary students to complete a civic literacy course and pass a specified assessment to demonstrate competency in civic literacy as a prerequisite for graduation.
Florida’s HB 233 requires state colleges and universities to conduct annual assessments of the viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom at their institutions to ensure that Florida’s postsecondary students will be shown diverse ideas and opinions, including those that they may disagree with or find uncomfortable. This bill is intended to curb the socialist-woke culture being promoted by the leftists who control education.
Alaska’s Legislature was, in the same year, busy passing bills such as HB 27, naming a bridge in Cordova for irene (lower case i) Webber. She may have been a good person, but naming a bridge after her is not substantive legislation. Not even close.
While Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed strong legislation to create a spending cap, limits on taxes (must be approved by voters), and a constitutional 50-50 Permanent Fund dividend formula, the Alaska Legislature, controlled by a center-left group of lawmakers, passed five bills extending various boards, such as HB 109, extending the board for the Alaska Bar Association, or HB 117, extending the board for direct-entry midwives. It passed three bills to make mandatory adjustments for federal compliance. Yay.
Meanwhile, in Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill this month preventing local governments from teaching Critical Race Theory. Arizona’s HB 2906, prohibits “the state and any local governments from requiring their employees to engage in orientation, training or therapy that suggest an employee is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” Ducey’s office said in a statement.
The Alaska Legislature, in the same year, passed four bills that name bridges, license plates, roads and days, five board extension bills, two budget bills, four extending program bills, two reporting requirement bills, and eight good governance (“should have already happened”) bills.
Last month in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott signed seven pieces of Second Amendment-related legislation. He signed a “heartbeat bill,” ensuring that babies in the womb cannot be killed via abortion after the sixth week of gestation. This bill will save millions of lives in the future.
The Alaska Legislature, in 150 days of session, did not pass one bill of substance. This represents a serious lack of quality leadership. In the House, the Speaker is a Republican in name only who puts her own provincial interests ahead of the greater good of the state. In the Senate, moderate Republicans are willing to gut the Permanent Fund dividend and few appear willing to step up and take a hard stand for smaller government.
The current legislative working group that is supposed to advance a fiscal plan for the state has less than two weeks left until August, and nothing has been accomplished. That group has heard the same presentation from Alexi Painter, Legislative Finance director, that it has heard umpteen times before, and a reasonable person might conclude that the working group is wasting its time and all Alaskans’ time.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy can’t sign legislation that’s not sent to his desk by the Legislature. He can’t rule by edict; our democracy is set up with three branches of government, each providing tension to the others.
Alaskans are suffering from a Legislature that is running a racket — racking up per diem and producing nothing of substance, except a budget that was a hot mess when it arrived at the governor’s desk.
Even the governor’s bill to create a question for voters — “Shall the PFD formula be a 50-50 split of available funds?” — barely received one hearing per chamber.
This week, Rep. Tom McKay of Anchorage filed a bill that bans racist teachings of “Critical Race Theory” in Alaska’s schools. With the Legislature we have right now, what are the chances that bill will ever be heard in committee? Co-Chairs Reps. Harriet Drummond and Andi Story will bury that bill so deep in the Education Committee it will never see the light of day.
Our Legislature is made up of 60 individuals, and it’s not fair to paint them all with the same broad strokes. But as a whole, the Alaska Legislature has failed the people of Alaska. Again.