The Legislature is getting down to the important bills now. For instance, the House Judiciary Committee listened to talk about Fairbanks-R Tammie Wilson’s bill (HB315) that says they have to let you on a jury even if you believe in “Jury Nullification” – a philosophy that … well, it’s complicated. Here’s a good explanation.
The News-Miner covered the committee hearing where the Department of Law seemed pretty put-out that people were talking about this subject — here’s Matt Buxton’s report.
Pro and Con:
The Value of this is that there is a good chance that one juror can make a difference. If I’m on the jury for your murder case when you claim Stand Your Ground protection, you might want to start making some long-term arrangements for someone to feed the dog. You might relax, though, if my jury ever gets to consider whether you are guilty of being a federal agent enforcing federal firearms laws.
The Negative, of course, is the risk that Tammie Wilson will be on the jury that tries me. I don’t want to think about that, though.
I’ve been away a little bit longer than I expected when I wrote the last piece here on AKJ3. It just felt so good not giving a damn about what the jesters were up to in the world of state politics. I have found I can keep up by reading Twitter and the occasional news story just fine, thank you. But a couple of things really do insist that I check on them a little closer from time to time.
Don’t expect much – I still have trouble breathing inside the Capitol. Don’t expect new stuff very often – I’m telling you I am retired. Do expect more questions and observations than breaking facts about stuff that’s already well-covered by the best journalists in Alaska.
Also, I am getting interested in Juneau’s city-borough government. There might be some things about those guys, too.
No promises this time.
Don’t be fooled by the quiet at the capitol this week. The Show will be back next week. This is the time for the people responsible for the future of Alaska to go to Washington D-C to enjoy the comforts of a good meal and good wine paid for by someone else – either You or the lobbyists who attend the Energy Conference. In the past, a few have been invited to the White House, but I think they only got Pepsi and cheese crackers there.
Think of it as a gift to us, the people responsible for their winning the free trip. They promise to leave us alone for at least three days. Before they close down, it looks like a couple of days that might sometime be remembered as “before the flood.”
Here’s a schedule for the entire week. You only need to focus on just a couple of days. Continue reading
I turned down the Permanent Fund Dividend for about six years after arriving here … a youthful bow to journalistic ethics. The governor and legislature started talking about citizens’ contributions to dwindling revenue, though, and I realized that my noble stand against the taint of the PFD would never protect me from having to pay income taxes. I decided to take the money. Continue reading
The House has passed the bill — HB69 — that allows Alaskan troopers or police officer to arrest federal agents who try to enforce federal firearm regulations in the state. It was an interesting debate that at one point reminded me of a speech I covered when then-governor Ross Barnett of Mississippi railed against the federal government’s encroachment of his State’s Rights. Continue reading
The House will open floor debate Monday on the bill – HB69 — that declares FBI and ATF agents as criminals who must be arrested if they try to enforce federal gun control laws and regulations.
More than silly, of course, it’s unconstitutional – state and federal. It also violates every oath of office taken by any elected official in the state, and by every law enforcement officer I ever heard of. Continue reading
I haven’t seen too much locally about the U-S Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case of an Alabama man who says his free speech has been restricted by campaign finance limits.
According to the Christian Science Monitor’s report, here, Shaun McCutcheon can only contribute $2500 to an individual candidate, $30,000 to a national political party, $10,000 to a state political party, $5000 to any other political committee – or a total of only a measly $117,000 over a two year election cycle. Continue reading
I don’t intend to write anything else on the Cruise Ship Wastewater Law that was put on the Governor’s desk Tuesday afternoon. It passed, he will sign it, and it’s over. It’s ripe for plenty of fine oratory and plenty of internet comments that I don’t want to hear or read.
Unless … Continue reading
That was an old TV game show – for several years hosted by Johnny Carson — that centered on which member of the team would best answer questions based on the subject of a string of questions.
For example, if the host said the subject was Cruise Ship Waste, the team would decide which one would be “trusted” to answer questions about output and standards and a rather flexible system of handling various chemical substances. Then the questions were asked with money given for correct answers. Continue reading
The headlines are full of the superficial, ego-building issues that usually passes for making laws this time of the year. But, first, you need just a reminder of reality. The only thing the legislature absolutely must do before they go home is to pass the budgets. Continue reading