Legislative conservatives have complained for several years that they could get none of their more-extreme bills through the Bi-partisan Senate, and they eventually gave no more than lip service to those measures by which the right-wing is measured.
This year, with Republicans running the Senate, the brakes are off and the lawmaking machine is on its way.
Fifty-nine of what are called the “prefiled” bills and resolutions were made public today in the first release of those measures that will be read into the record on the first day of the session. Here’s a list of the complete collection.
You can see a very strong tilt to the right – with bills mimicking those that other states have had before their legislatures in recent years. Part of that agenda is the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council – ALEC.org – that openly combines businesses with dues-paying legislatures. Alaska is a member.
Here are just a few of today’s bills that promise to become high-profile, hotly debated issues.
HJR1 would amend the constitution to allow the state to provide money to religious, but non-sectarian schools. The resolution isn’t clear about the difference between religious and non-sectarian schools.
Two years ago, Anchorage’s Bob Lynn tried to restrict non-Americans who are in Alaska on U-S visas by requiring them to make frequent trips to the Division of Motor Vehicles offices to get their driver’s licenses renewed. He lost twice – in separate votes – on the floor of the House. A majority member is not expected to lose a floor vote. He’s back this year with a more simple bill – HB1 – with a similar result. It would allow the DMV to issue short-term licenses for people with short-term visas.
If HB16 passes, people getting public assistance aid would have to subject themselves to drug and alcohol screening tests. The bill specifically says that
a statewide threat to public safety exists with regard to the use of cash assistance for the purchase of alcohol and illegal drugs. The purpose of the testing program established under AS 47.27.400 – 47.27.499 is to reduce that risk and to protect the residents of the state.
The national Stand Your Ground bill is back. HB24 says it’s okay to use deadly force if you are in a place where you have a right to be. The idea made it though the House last year, but died in the Senate Finance Committee even though half the Senate members were co-sponsors. Two dozen states have similar laws, and they have seen an average eight percent increase in their homicide rates.
Other than providing fodder for Jon Stewart and David Letterman during last year’s elections, a lot of voting security laws didn’t prove to change the outcome of elections in any state that had time. That doesn’t keep Bob Lynn from wanting to join those states. HB3 addresses the problem that has not previously arisen by requiring voters to some form of approved photo identification when they get to the polls.
Another batch of prefiled bills will be made public on Friday, Usually, that is a smaller package of measures – but lawmakers have two sessions to get their ideas in the hopper.