2024, Alaska

What to Know: Week 1

Last Updated: January 16th, 2024

As the 2024 Legislative session kicks off, we begin by welcoming in an election year.  All of the House of Representative members are up for election, as well as half of the Senators. Here’s how things are lining up right now. We expect a lively session, so check back often to see what we’re watching.

Legislation Tracking

The Alaskan Legislative Session covers a two-year period. Bills can be introduced in either session. However, at the end of the second year, all bills not passed must start over. This year is the second session, so there are a number of bills already in process. 

The LWV-AK Board voted on the priorities for this legislative session based on input from our members. These priorities are reflected in the bills we are tracking. We are including only those bills that have been acted on  during the  last session. Should any of the others in the full list move forward, we will add them here.

The LWV-AK priorities for 2023/24

    • Election Process and Procedures
    • Ranked Choice Voting – Advocacy and Education
    • Judicial Selection and Retention through the Judicial Council
    • Gun Safety
    • Reproductive Rights Protection
    • Civics Education

Watchlist Bills listed by priority area

Election Process and Procedures

House:

HB 37    ELECTIONS, VOTING, BALLOTS Sponsor: Rep. Schrage (NA-Anchorage)

This is a bill that the LWV-AK supports. The LWV-AK testified at the one hearing this bill had last year, on March 28, 2023. It was not heard again. We will be watching to see if it gets another hearing. 

HB 129  VOTER REGISTRATION Sponsored by by the House Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Vance (R-Homer). 

There were a number of hearings last session.

Alert:  There is already a meeting set up for this one.

Jan 17 Wednesday 1:00 PM (H)JUDICIARY at GRUENBERG 120 and it is TELECONFERENCED. There are additional documents and updates already posted. Please keep an eye on this. Anything that makes it more difficult to vote, is a concern to the League, so we want to understand the focus of this bill.

There were three other bills sponsored by the House Judiciary Committee as well (HB130, HB131, HB132) but no hearings were held. If they move forward we will add them back.

SB 17: Campaign Contributions  Sponsor: Sen. Kawasaki  (D-Fairbanks)

There is a meeting scheduled on  Jan 19 Friday 1:30 PM (S)JUDICIARY in room BUTROVICH 205 TELECONFERENCED

PRE-FILES – see the Pre-file article. Should any of these get hearings we will add them to our watchlist.

Pre-file:  HB225 Rep. Gray (D-Anchorage) Relating to the tabulation of ballots; 

Pre-file:  HB246 Rep. Story (D-Juneau) Relating to voter preregistration for minors at least 16 years of age. 

Pre-file:  HB250 Rep. McCabe (R-Big Lake) Relating to municipal and school board elections; declaring Election Day a holiday; relating to terms of office for municipal mayors, municipal governing bodies, elected utility boards, and school boards; and providing for an effective date.

Pre-file:  SB 177 Sen. Hughes (R-Palmer) Relating to artificial intelligence; requiring disclosure of deepfakes in campaign communications; relating to cybersecurity; and relating to data privacy.

Senate:

SB 61  US PRESIDENT ELECT. POPULAR VOTE COMPACT.  Sponsor: Sen. Wielechowski  (D-Anchorage).

SB 138  ELECTIONS; VOTER REG.; CAMPAIGNS Sponsored by the Senate STATE AFFAIRS committee.

These bills made it to the Rules committee at the end of last session. This is one step short of being heard and voted on by the full Senate.

Ranked Choice Voting – Advocacy and Education

HB 4      ELECTIONS:REPEAL RANK CHOICE/OPEN PRIMARY Sponsor: Rep. Vance (R-Homer).

This bill was in the House Judiciary Committee as of 05/10/23.  The LWV-AK does NOT support this bill.   Note: There is a citizen-led petition to repeal rank choice voting, which we will be watching separately.

Judicial Selection and Retention

There were three  bills introduced in House at the start of last session: HB 82 HB24, HB 34 and one in the Senate SB 31).  None have moved forward. If hearings are scheduled we will add them back. We do NOT support any move to change the process.

Gun Safety

Pre-file:   SB 173   Requiring school districts to grant qualified persons an assigned duty to carry a concealed handgun…introduced by Sen. Hughes (R-Palmer). Should this bill get a hearing, we will add it to the list. We have not taken a position on this bill at this time.

Two existing bills are still out there for gun safety and are important.  They did not get a hearing last year. We will watch to see if they do this year.  They are:

HB 162 GUN VIOLENCE PROTECTIVE ORDERS Sponsor: Rep. Josephson (D-Anchorage).
HB 164 MISCONDUCT INVOLVING WEAPONS Sponsors: Representatives Carrick, Gray, Armstrong, Groh, Mina.

Reproductive Rights Protection

Pre-file:   HB241 Relating to reproductive health care services which was introduced this January by Rep. Josephson (D-Anchorage) will be added should it be scheduled for a hearing.

Promote Civics Education

SB 29  CIVICS EDUCATION Sponsored by Sen. Stevens (R-Kodiak).

This bill did pass the Senate. However, it was not taken up by the House before the session ended. We will be monitoring when and if the House might start to consider it.

Other bills of interest

Here are a few  other bills on which we have taken positions on, and which our members may want to follow.

We encourage you to continue to track these bills on the akleg.gov website.

HB 36    APOC; REFERENDA/RECALL; CONTRIBUTIONS. Sponsor: Rep. Schrage (NA-Anchorage).

HB 65    INCREASE BASE STUDENT ALLOCATION. Sponsor: Rep. Ortiz (NA-Ketchikan).

HB 105  and SB 96 SEX/REPRODUCTION EDUC; SCHOOLS.Sponsor: Request of the Governor.

HB 106  and SB 97 TEACHER RECRUITMENT; LUMP SUM PAYMENT. Sponsor: Request of the Governor.

HB 165  CHARTER SCHOOLS; CORRESPONDENCE PROG. Sponsor: Ways and Means Committee.

SB 17: Campaign Contributions  Sponsor: Sen. Kawasaki  (D-Fairbanks)

SB 140  INTERNET FOR SCHOOLS. Sponsor: Sen. Hoffman (D-Bethel).

 

 

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