The Alaska State Legislature released a list of dozens of prefiled bills from both chambers Monday as it prepares to convene next week, covering a range of topics from state fisheries to switchblades.
House Bill 18, sponsored by Rep. Bill Stoltze (R-Chugiak), would require state agencies imposing fisheries restrictions to prioritize protecting personal-use fisheries when trying to reach a management goal, by restricting other fisheries first.
Several House proposals would affect people’s IDs and their use if adopted. Under HB 1, backed by Anchorage Republican Reps. Bob Lynn, Mike Chenault, Mike Hawker and Craig Johnson, the state could issue driver’s licenses of less than five years in duration to foreigners in the U.S. on temporary visas. HB 42, sponsored by Rep. Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole), would require the state Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driver’s licenses without photos to anyone who could prove a valid religious objection to being photographed.
HB 3, sponsored by Reps. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage) and Wes Keller (R-Wasilla), would require voters to present photo identification, while Rep Bryce Edgmon’s (D-Dillingham) HB 25 would allow the use of tribal identification cards as valid identification.
Rep. Max Gruenberg’s (D-Anchorage) HB 13 is one of several dealing with elections, proposing a top-two nonpartisan voting system for primary elections in which the top two candidates in each race -- regardless of party affiliation -- would appear on the general-election ballot. HB 2, sponsored by Lynn, would require information filed in candidates’ declarations of intent to run for state and federal legislative offices to be publicly available.
The session’s most popular pre-filed bill, HB 30, has some 26 sponsors, most of them Republicans from across the state. It requires annual performance reviews of numerous state agency programs, as well as annual notifications to the Legislative Balance and Audit Committee of any savings achieved by changes in the fiscal year following a review.
House Democrats’ most popular bill, HB 17 with seven sponsors, is an education proposal which would reduce the principal amount on college tuition loans by 2.5 percent per year for graduates who remain in Alaska. Other education proposals include HB 31 sponsored by Rep. Wes Keller (R-Wasilla), mandating passage of a constitutional-studies course for graduation from high school, as well as Sen. Bill Wielechowski’s (D-Anchorage) SB 6, which would provide state funding for school breakfasts and lunches.
Rep. Mark Neuman (R-Big Lake) is sponsoring two bills on crime including HB 24, which would expand the state’s stand-your-ground law authorizing the use of deadly force in self-defense to “any place where a person has a right to be.” HB 33 would amend the state’s knife laws, defining “gravity knife” and “switchblade” weapons in criminal code, while giving the state power to regulate knives; it also authorizes cities to restrict their sale or ban their possession in certain areas.
Crime is also the subject of HB 45, sponsored by Reps. Mia Costello (R-Anchorage) and Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla), which would expand state laws against bullying to cover the electronic communications used in online “cyberbullying.” In the Senate Wielechowski is sponsoring Senate Bill 9, which would criminalize price gouging in sales of automotive and aviation fuel, fuel for space heating and diesel fuel.
HB 29 targets legal action meant to stop development work, requiring parties seeking injunctions against “industrial projects” in fields including construction, oil and gas, timber and mining to post a security to cover the costs of resulting work stoppages. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage), says the security would be forfeited if courts determine that a project was “wrongfully enjoined.”
The Alaska Gasline Development Corp. would be reformed as an independent state corporation under HB 4, backed by Hawker and Chenault. The Anchorage Republicans’ bill would shift the unit from its current oversight by the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., as well as allow it to keep some records confidential and conduct open seasons -- similar provisions to those in the state’s agreement to build a natural gas pipeline with the firm TransCanada, under former Gov. Sarah Palin’s Alaska Gasline Inducement Act.
A backlash against federal government regulations affecting Alaska is reflected in HB 34, sponsored by Wilson. The bill would bar the state from complying with federal laws, regulations or presidential executive orders -- until federal officials provide affected state agencies, the Legislature and the governor with a written description of how to comply with each law, as well its economic effect on all affected communities.
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