JUNEAU — A state Senate panel has advanced, and generally endorsed, a plan to eliminate toxic chemical compounds used to fireproof household electronics and furniture.
The bill is headed to the Senate Finance Committee for review. Scientists link the fire retardants, PBDEs, to cancer and other health problems.
Environmental groups in Alaska have unanimously asked lawmakers this year to ban companies from selling electronics and furniture that contain more than trace amounts of the compounds. Industry and governmental leaders around the world have already targeted the chemical, polybrominated diphenyl ether, for elimination.
Three of four members of the Health and Social Service Committee last week endorsed the bill, with the fourth taking no position. The bill is Senate Bill 27.
Self-defense bill get hearing
A key House panel will hear a proposal Tuesday to expand individuals’ self-defense rights. The bill would extend the right to use deadly force for self-defense as long as he or she is in a place where he or she has “a right to be.” The measure last month cleared the House Judiciary Committee, with four of six members endorsing the plan along the way.
The Alaska Department of Law has said the measure would increase its workload and operational costs.
The House Finance Committee has scheduled a Tuesday morning hearing on the bill, House Bill 80. Rep. Eric Feige, R-Chickaloon, is a lead sponsor and Reps. Steve Thompson and Tammie Wilson, of Fairbanks and North Pole, are among the co-sponsors.
Law of the Sea Treaty
A legislative panel is set to discuss the state’s formal position on the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.
Congress has not ratified the convention, generally referred to as the Law of the Sea Treaty, drawing concerns from many in Alaska, which has two-thirds of the nation’s coastline.
The treaty outlines and assigns global responsibilities with respect to the world’s oceans.
The state House of Representatives’ special committee on economic development has penciled time Tuesday morning at 10:15 to discuss a measure “urging the United States Senate to ratify” the treaty.
Murkowski opposes carbon regulations
Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office said last week she’s on board with a Republican Senate bill that looks to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.
The senator backs a bill from Sens. Jim Inhofe and Fred Upton, Oklahoma and Michigan Republicans, her staff told the Daily News-Miner.
Murkowski has said the EPA’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions stretch well beyond the agency’s authorized responsibilities. Inhofe said in a statement last week that his bill opposes “President Obama’s backdoor cap-and-trade energy tax.”
Federal regulators, looking to address climate change under the Clean Air Act, spent much of 2010 preparing a program to regulate greenhouse gas emissions — generally carbon dioxide — for the first time. The state’s environmental regulators have followed through with local regulations.