Rep. Geran Tarr

Legislation one of suite of bills to promote women’s health, safety and economic opportunity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 10, 2014

JUNEAU – Today, Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), Representative Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau), and Representative Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) pre-filed legislation (HB226) to re-establish the Alaska Commission on the Status of Women.

“From domestic violence and the gender wage gap to education and access to health care, Alaska women face a unique set of challenges that have negatively impacted women and children for decades,” said Tarr. “The Alaska Commission on the Status of Women will help Alaskans develop a more thorough understanding of the issues Alaskan women face, and it will identify potential solutions to improve their lives now and into the future.”

The Legislature created the Alaska Commission on the Status of Women in 1978, renewed and renamed it the Alaska Women’s Commission in 1983, then combined it with the Alaska Human Relations Commission in 1993. While the Alaska Human Relations Commission continues to exist in statute, it has never been funded and was declared inactive in 1996.

“The challenges Alaska women face are too often ignored, and they won’t go away by themselves,” said Kerttula.  “It is time to re-establish the Alaska Commission on the Status of Women to shine a light on more ways forward for women in Alaska.”

This legislation is part of a suite of bills from Kerttula, Tarr, and Drummond designed to promote women’s health, safety and economic opportunity in Alaska. Other legislation includes bills to expand Denali KidCare, teach children how to prevent child abuse, establish earned sick leave, and re-instate the Alaska Commission on the Status of Women.

The new bills complement existing legislation (HB37) and upcoming budget requests to make child care more available and affordable for Alaskan parents looking to re-enter the workforce, to help child care businesses train and retain quality caregivers, and to ensure hospitals and the crime lab have the tools they need to bring rapists to justice.

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