Last week Advocacy Chair, Judy Andree, attended public testimony on HB 175, National Popular Vote Compact. She followed up with a second letter from LWVAK in response to some of the testimony that opposed the bill with incorrect information. The letter focused on the history of the League’s involvement with the National Popular Vote as well as brief history of the use of electors and how that has evolved into something not necessarily in the original intent. LWVUS has supported the use of the popular vote for electing the President since 1970; there was a suggestion in some of the testimony that this was a sore-loser bill and that folks should just get over their loss. In fact, the NPV Compact is decades old and has nothing to do with the 2016 election (although there is more interest in it now than might have been with a different election outcome.)
This is a short alert about hearings this week on bills we are watching. Please send an email of support for these bills if you haven’t done so already. Remember to write as a private citizen and not as a League member. Earlier alerts have discussed these bills in more detail. It is important to let your voices be heard; just saying you support the bill can be very helpful.
HB 115: INCOME TAX; PFD CREDIT; PERM FUND INCOME Sponsor: House Finance
Hearing: Wednesday, March 29, at both 1 & 5:30 pm; Rm 519 for Public Testimony
The 1 pm-4:30pm hearing will cover Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Off-nets. The 5:30 pm-8 pm hearing with public testimony covers all other LIOs and Off-nets. Written testimony can also be sent to [email protected]. You must arrive 30 minutes before the alloted time or testimony will be closed earlier than the posted end times.
This bill would establish an income tax, PFD earnings, and other measures to raise revenues.There are other hearings w/o public testimony beginnning Monday, 1:30 pm in House Finance, Rm 519; Tuesday, at both 9 am & 1:30 pm, Rm 519; and Thursday, 1:30 pm, Rm 519. All meetings are teleconferenced. Check with your LIO for call-in information if you want to add public testimony.
The LWVAK has submitted a letter of support that supports the income tax as it is progressive in comparison to a statewide sales tax. In addition, the permanent fund proposals in this bill protect a yearly dividend although potentially smaller than past years. The PF would also be inflation protected and the use of the principle would not be permitted. You can write an email of support to [email protected]
HB 44: LEGISLATIVE ETHICS: VOTING & CONFLICTS Sponsor: Representative Grenn
Hearing: Tuesday, march 28, 3 pm. House STA, Rm 120 Teleconferenced
This bill would establish guidelines for conflicts of interest and the process to follow for abstaining from voting on a given bill. Email: [email protected]
The LWVAK has sent a letter of support based on the League’s interest in transparency in government and government ethics. Remember that the current practice is to announce a conflict and the need to abstain, but abstaining requires unanimous approval of the House. This bill would require more than one person to refuse to allow the abstention. The current process is rare as most states require just the opposite: approval to vote, not approval to abstain.
HB 31: SEXUAL ASSAULT EXAMINATION KITS Sponsor: Tarr
There have been some changes to this bill that includes removal of the 18-month deadline for local police departments to send the kits to the state crime lab in the long title. The new long title is here:
“An Act relating to law enforcement training in domestic violence and sexual assault; relating to sexual assault investigation protocols; requiring an inventory and reposts on untested assault examination kits, and providing for an effect date.”
Hearing with no public testimony, March 31, Friday, 1:30 pm, House FIN, Rm 519 teleconferenced
The hearing should provide more information on how this bill has been revised. I plan to listen in via BASIS, home page, upper right corner!
SB 72: DISCRIMINATION: GENDER ID.;SEXUAL ORIENT. Sponsor: Gardner
Hearing WITH public testimony, Friday, March 31, 1:30 pm Senate HSS, Rm 205
This bill will add language to the human rights statute that prevents discrimination statewide against sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.
The League US declares that it opposes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. The cities of Juneau and Anchorage have added similar language to their human rights ordinances.
This is the bill that would add human rights protection to sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. Remember that both Anchorage and Juneau have added similar protections to their human rights ordinances.
Hearing with no public testimony, Mar. 31, Friday, 1:30 pm, Rm 205, teleconferenced
There is much to do at both the state and national level. Keep up the good work and let your thoughts and voices be heard.