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We Build Alaska

Senator John Coghill is the One Person Preventing Bree’s Law from Passing the Senate

Dear Senators,

House Bill (HB) 214, the bill to officially name the “dating violence” part of the Alaska Safe Children’s Act as Bree’s Law, has more support by the Alaska Legislature than any other bill. With 100% approval in the house, 14 out of 20 senate co-sponsors, and supported by Governor Bill Walker, that’s 55 out of 61 of our elected state officials. It is now up to our 20 senators to pass the bill – right? Surely this bill will pass…

Nope, not so fast… don’t get too excited just yet. This bill is now being stopped by one senator who wants to spoil everyone’s fun and rain on the parade yet once again. If everyone in the state agrees on one thing, he will certainly be the one to stop it. Apparently this one senator wants to spread discord when somebody says, “Can’t we all just get along?” Senator John Coghill is waiting to spoil it for all of us.

Yes, HB 214 is being stopped by one person, Senator John Coghill. He will not give it a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs.

In 2015, Cindy and I worked to pass Bree’s Law. It was eventually named the Alaska Safe Children’s Act. HB 214 will add the words, “Bree’s Law” into statute. Since 2015 we have been working with parents, teachers, students, legislators, the State of Alaska and various organizations/agencies. Some of these include: Abused Woman’s Aid in Crisis (AWAIC), Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), Anchorage School District (ASD), Southcentral Foundation, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA), Victim’s for Justice, The Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA), Governor Bill Walker’s office, The Department of Education and Early Development (DEED), along with many other schools and school districts.

The 2017 Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported teen dating violence and sexual assault numbers in Alaska dropped by 1,514 reported cases in 2017, nearly half the number that was in the 2015 report. What we are all doing with Bree’s Law is working. Perhaps Bree’s greatest accomplishment has come in her death – shedding a light on dating violence here in Alaska and rallying all of us together to help prevent it.

There is NO downside to passing HB 214. There is NO fiscal note. There is NO funding needed. There is no money to talk about. There are only lives to be saved.

This has been incredibly difficult for our family. No parent should have to bury their child. In light of the horrible comments Senator Coghill recently made recently to KTVA (Senate leader putting hold on Bree’s Law bill) about Bree, myself and her mother, I can no longer be diplomatic and political about this. What Senator Coghill said was not only wrong, it was hurtful and mean.

The one thing we have found throughout this process is that yes, there are people out there claiming to be good people. They will make excuses for their actions, debate their motives and attempt to diminish the damage they cause. They dig their heels in, only to explain away and defend what, at the end of the day, is simply a bad decision. They will say bad things, because their hearts are, well, I don’t know.

No, good people don’t stop life saving legislation. And good people don’t defend people who do.

Do you want to stop the abusing and killing of women and girls in Alaska?

You’re going to have to make a choice here.

Yes… There’s going to be a vote. And Alaskans will be watching.

Butch Moore is the father of Bree Moore.

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Fish head
5 years ago

How is HB 214 “life saving legislation”? It only renames parts of a law that has already been enacted.

Cindy Moore
5 years ago
Reply to  Fish head

Comment from a senior in high school that had teen dating violence awareness and prevention education and then later heard Bree’s Story: “With Bree’s name, the education becomes immediately more relatable and impactful to students, just like Amber Aler, Kendr’s Law, and Megan’s Law, the name allows us to look not only at statistics, but the effect of the education (or lack thereof) on a human level.”

5 years ago
Reply to  Fish head

Anyone to vote down this law is just heartless!!

Russ Reno
5 years ago

Residents of Alaska contact your elected officials and ask them if they agree with this statement? [Coghill] “[The bills] got to my committee, and since I disagree with them, and taking a temperature of the building, I’m probably in a good place there. I just don’t intend to move them along,” [KTUU reports, Senator Coghill said] District 1 Representative Christopher Constant; I want to know if you think it is appropriate for an elected official to hold a piece of legislation in committee just because they are a committee chair and “you just don’t intend to move them along”? Senator… Read more »

5 years ago
Reply to  Russ Reno

I agree that what Senator Coghill is doing is a complete injustice to our community and needs to be removed from his seat immediately so that this piece of legislation can be made into law. As the mayor has stated the people have spoken let’s do what’s right and move forward!!

Phil Raymond
7 months ago

The one thing that is missing in this article is Coghill’s reasoning and comments. If it was hurtful as you said, I’d like to know what it was so I can avoid voting for him in the future if necessary. Getting complete info is a prerequisite to fairness.