Category - Press

Bi-partisan Bill to Crack Down on Arson Passes House

Bill would allow state to prosecute those who plan fires, not just those who set them JUNEAU – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed bi-partisan legislation to protect Alaskans from arsonists and those who support them. The legislation (HB 56) by Representative Carl Gatto (R-Palmer), Representative Max Gruenberg (D-Anchorage) and Representative Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage) adds arson to the list of serious crimes under Alaska’s conspiracy laws. This will allow the state to prosecute people who plan arson in addition to those who actually set the fires.

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Alaskans Call for End to Unlimited Corporate and Union Election Spending: Petition Gets 1,000th Signer in First Week

In just one week, over 1,000 Alaskans have signed a public petition supporting Rep. Gara’s legislation calling for an end to unlimited corporate campaign spending. Such quick action by a frustrated public shows the public significantly supports a ban on unlimited elections spending by corporations, made legal by the Citizens United Supreme Court case. “The public is fed up with letting corporations, unions and others buy elections, and drown out the voices of voters who aren’t billionaires,” said Rep. Les Gara (D-Anc.), the lead Prime Sponsor of a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision. A Homer Tribune Article published yesterday fairly summarizes the legislative debate on this issue.

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Bill Protecting Public Access To Fishing Streams Passes Legislature

Today Representative Les Gara’s legislation to ensure future public access to Alaska’s fishing streams, House Bill 144, passed the Senate. It now goes to the Governor. The bill passed the House last year with a vote of 38 Yeas, and today passed the Senate by a vote of 20 to 0. “We want to protect fishing stream access for this and the next generation. In other states you have to pay access fees, into the thousands of dollars, to fish a stream. We don’t ever want that to happen in Alaska,” said Rep. Les Gara (D-Anch.), an avid fisherman and fishing writer. The legislation will inexpensively promote access to important fishing streams by encouraging voluntary land trades or purchases with willing landowners so Alaskans have public easements to travel to and along fishing streams that will otherwise be lost over time.

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Rep. Petersen Resolution Supports Community Efforts to Create Muldoon Park

“Community effort to create this park is an example of grassroots democracy at its best” JUNEAU – As the Anchorage Assembly considers a proposal that would hurt the efforts by Muldoon area residents to create a city park on the former site of the Alaska Greenhouse, Rep. Pete Petersen (D-Anchorage) has introduced a resolution (HCR 27) to support the effort to create what local residents have dubbed the “Muldoon Park Strip.” Despite residents’ desires to create the park, the Municipality of Anchorage is considering whether to sell most of this land. “As the representative for Northeast Anchorage and Muldoon, my job is to listen to my neighbors and help them build the community they want,” Petersen said. “The community effort to create this park is an example of grassroots democracy at its best and I am proud to stand with them.”

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Legislation to Ban Unlimited Corporate and Union Election Spending Passes Committee

Today legislation calling for an end to unlimited corporate and union election spending passed the House State Affairs Committee. “Unlimited spending by corporations and organizations to influence elections drowns out the public’s voice, and damages the basic democratic priniciple of one person one vote,” said Prime Sponsor of HJR 33, Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage). The legislation calls on the United States Congress to pass a constitutional amendment reversing the controversial 2010 Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, which reversed decades of precedent allowing states and Congress to ban corporate and Union “independent expenditures” by third party groups seeking to influence election outcomes.

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Democrats’ Resolution Calls on Governor to Opt-Out of No Child Left Behind

“The federal program has never worked for Alaska. It’s time we set our own standards” JUNEAU – Today, Rep. Bob Miller and three other Democrats in the Alaska House of Representatives introduced a resolution (HJR 39) calling on the state of Alaska to opt-out of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program and to develop its own Alaska-appropriate education standards. “No Child Left Behind was a federal mandate that never worked for Alaska,” said Rep. Miller. “It’s time we develop our own Alaska-appropriate standards and get out from under this federal program that set too many of our schools up to fail.”

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Rep. Petersen Bill Would Allow Repayment of Energy Upgrades on Utility Bills

Bill would make it easier for Alaskans to pay off loans for upgrades that lower their energy bills JUNEAU – Rep. Pete Petersen introduced legislation this week to allow Alaskans to pay off home energy upgrades with the savings they earn on their utility bills from the improvements. “With energy costs as high as they are these days, we need to do everything we can to make it easier for Alaskans to make their homes more efficient and lower their energy bills,” said Rep. Petersen.

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“The House Majority supports this education based income tax as one part of the solution to grow a stable economy.”

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