The Sunday Minefield – January 7, 2018

Happy 2018 to all the loyal Landmine readers. This is the first Sunday Minefield of 2018 and, as usual, there is no shortage of material to write about.

Legislators and staffers are busy preparing for the upcoming 2018 legislative session which begins on January 16. The usual pre-session game of musical chairs is underway. Longtime staffer Pete Ecklund is leaving Senator Peter Micciche’s (R – Soldotna) office to take recently retired finance staffer James Armstrong’s job for Senator Lyman Hoffman (D – Bethel). Weston Eiler and Senator Mia Costello (R – Anchorage) have parted ways after 3 years. Sounds like she wanted to go another direction. No Mia, I am not available. Eiler is an experienced staffer and should not have any trouble finding a job.

Now is the time for legislators to prefile bills for the upcoming session. Senator Costello prefiled a bill to repeal SB91, the crime reform bill. She, like others who voted for it, must be very concerned how it will impact their re-election later this year as the public is very angry about SB91 and the crime problems. There is trying to fix SB91, and then there is just going for total repeal. The crime debate this session should be interesting.

Senator Berta Gardner (D – Anchorage) prefiled a bill to raise the legal marriage age in Alaska to 18; and 16 for emancipated minors. According to the press release, currently, if a judge signs off on it, a 14-year-old could get married in Alaska. While this is extremely rare, I’m curious to see who, if anyone, will oppose this bill. I’d be willing to bet that Representative David Eastman (R – Wasilla) is a no vote. Because freedom and government intrusion.

Nine people have applied for the District 40 seat Dean Westlake recently resigned from. My friends over at Midnight Sun AK wrote an article with the names of all the candidates. Three will be forwarded by the Alaska Democratic Party to Governor Bill Walker, who will choose one. The child in me is really hoping he picks Sandra Shroyer Beaver… for obvious reasons.

Alaska Family Action President Jim Minnery must have a lot of time on his hands. I receive several long emails a week from him, mostly about freedom and abortion. He never forgets to ask for money. One of the emails included 4 different “DONATE NOW” buttons. Anyway, he recently launched a campaign to repeal the Anchorage Assembly ordinance on bathrooms. In an article, Alaska Public Media wrote, “The measure seeks to regulate bathrooms, locker-rooms and other “intimate spaces” on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity, as is the current policy.” In a recent email Minnery says, “Although Alaska Family Action is launching this site, it is completely for and about women and girls who have been impacted by a law that violates their privacy, safety and dignity.”

Here is a pic from the website. Is this girl looking for a bathroom or running away from home?

This week Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (yes he’s named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis) directed the Department of Justice to no longer follow an Obama era directive instructing federal law enforcement not to prosecute marijuana growers and sellers in states where voters legalized it, unless it is part of gang activity or going to kids. After that, the chair of the Alaska Marijuana Control Board, Peter Mlynarik, who also serves as Soldotna’s police chief, resigned based on the new policy. I don’t think homeboy was ever in favor of legalized weed anyways. This should prove to be an interesting battle. I wonder where all the ardent states’ rights supporters in the legislature will come down on this one? Especially the ones who enjoy the occasional hit of a blunt.

The Anchorage Assembly will vote Tuesday on an amendment permitting Mayor Berkowitz’s proposed sale of Municipal Light and Power to Chugach Electric. This is a good start, now we just need to consolidate the rest of the rail belt utilities.

Correction: The amendment will be introduced at the meeting on Tuesday and voted on at the meeting on January 23.

The Alaska Republican Party held a Trump Anniversary Gala at the Petroleum Club on January 6. In Trump fashion, tickets were $200 a pop. I can’t imagine there were many deplorables or forgotten men and women in attendance. I’m sure it was great, and huge, and bigly. Senator Dunleavy announced he will resign from the state senate to focus on his race for governor. Here is an Alaska Landmine article with more information.

The Resource Development Council held their annual legislative preview breakfast this week in Anchorage. Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon (D – Dillingham) and Senator President Pete Kelly (R – Fairbanks) both spoke. Edgmon’s remarks were measured and civil, but he made it clear that he and Kelly have competing viewpoints on new revenues and a fiscal plan. Kelly’s comments were, well, a bit different. He stated that the senate will not vote in favor of new revenues and that Alaskans don’t like to have a plan. He also made a strange analogy about the house holding the Permanent Fund restructuring bill (which he said the senate, house and governor all agree on) hostage for other things. He said it is like one terrorist holding a gun to another terrorist’s head. Okay.

The best part was when he stated that the Alaska Democratic Party is now the Alaska Socialist Party because of their big support for Bernie Sanders. He added that his buddy Bryce is not a socialist though, and then patted him on the shoulder. If facial expressions could be translated to English, Edgmon’s was definitely “Don’t fuckin touch me.”

The Anchorage Daily News joined Alaska GOP blog Must Read Alaska when the ADN site temporarily crashed this week. In November, the Must Read Alaska site crashed as well. The Alaska Landmine has a great team of folks committed to always being up and running.

In honor of the upcoming legislative session, the Sunday Minefield will include a new weekly award, This Week’s Loose Unit. If you don’t know what a loose unit is, see this definition from Urban Dictionary. It’s probably the best term I learned while in Australia.

This Week’s Loose Unit 

This week’s Loose Unit is Representative Tammie Wilson (R – North Pole). Wilson sent out a bizarre press release saying she refuses to take the new mandatory sexual harassment training and also called for House Rules Chair Gabrielle LeDoux (R – Anchorage) to resign. She’s a bit of a loose unit.

If you have a nomination for This Week’s Loose Unit, please submit to jeff@alaskalandmine.com or send me a message.

If you have any political news, stories or gossip (or any old pics of politicians or public officials) please email me at jeff@alaskalandmine.com

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