• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: Latest updates on McHugh Creek Fire - Read More
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 20s

State gun bill raises questions about legislators’ priorities

By Bonney Bowman 8:29 PM July 31, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

It’s bill-signing season for Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell.

But as the legislation becomes law, it’s raising questions about how the lawmakers spend their time.

Earlier this week, Parnell signed a bill designating an official state bolt-action rifle.

The law itself isn’t what’s raising ire. It’s that lawmakers took the time to debate and vote on the state gun, rather than other bills some say are more important to Alaska and its residents.

Lawmakers passed a little more than 100 bills this session.

“I think our legislators do a good job with paring it down and passing what’s essential,” Parnell said.

Not everyone agrees with him.

The state gun bill went through several committees.

The bill’s sponsor, Senate President Charlie Huggins, says each committee spent 30 minutes to an hour asking questions about the bill before passing it.

“I think symbols of our past and remembrances of our history are important,” Parnell said.

But another piece of legislation, House Bill 54, never even got a hearing.

It would have required social workers to look for relatives within 30 days of a child entering foster care, quickly placing them with family instead of bouncing them from place to place.

“The bill was heard in a few committees, but it didn’t make it out of the house,” said Amanda Metivier, executive director for Facing Foster Care in Alaska.

Current and former foster kids talked to lawmakers in Juneau about why the bill mattered.

“We got a lot of, ‘oh yeah, that’s really interesting, we want to help’ but no movement,” Metivier said.

KTVA 11 News wanted to know what you thought, so we asked you about the issue on Facebook.

Deb Patrick said simply: “are you kidding me?!!”

Robert Haus said he agrees with the choice of state gun, but says the bill was a waste of time. Dennis Frank agreed, saying there are more important issues.

None of the commenters on Facebook thought the state gun law was a good use of the lawmakers’ time.

But the governor says the state gun matters because it’s part of Alaska’s heritage, saying, “it all ties together with the Alaska life and who we are as a people.”

Metivier says it’s unlikely the foster care bill will be brought up again.

“It’s kind of disheartening when those things don’t pass, but you know there were some good things that did pass the session in the way of children’s services,” she said. “But it’s just frustrating. You never know what’s going to happen but it’s really about what people’s priorities are.”

Metivier says one of the bills passed provides funds to increase the number of social workers in the state.

She says this will help speed up the family search process by easing the workers’ burden, but still doesn’t put a time limit on when those searches happen.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Deadly bombing strikes demonstration in Kabul

    by CBS/AP on Jul 23, 17:39

    At least 80 people were killed and another 231 wounded in the Afghan capital on Saturday, when suicide bombers detonated their explosives-packed clothing among a large crowd of demonstrators, officials and witnesses said. In a statement issued by its news agency, Aamaq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attack […]

  • News

    Firefighters on McHugh Creek Fire confident with progress

    by Eric Ruble on Jul 23, 17:27

    After nearly half an inch of rainfall, sunshine returned to the area of the McHugh Creek Fire Saturday. It remains roughly 815 acres in size, but is now 15 percent contained, according to officials. It was seven percent contained Friday. More than 300 firefighters have been working on the McHugh Creek Fire. Many of them […]

  • News

    Woman drove for days in Alaska with husband’s body in casket

    by Associated Press on Jul 23, 15:18

    A woman who drove her husband’s body on a days-long traveling wake in Alaska and used ice from canneries to keep him cold is not accused of breaking any laws. Officers responded to a call last week to find the body of a 78-year-old man inside an aluminum transport casket. Ketchikan Police Chief Alan Bengaard […]

  • News

    Police: Bicyclist injured in crash with vehicle

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 23, 13:35

    Updated at 3:25 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 A bicyclist was injured and transported to a nearby hospital after a collision with a vehicle Saturday afternoon. The incident was reported to police at the intersection of Eagle Street and 23rd Avenue around 12:48 p.m., according to an Anchorage dispatcher. The driver remained at the scene of the […]

  • News

    McHugh Creek Fire: Positive prognosis from fire official

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 23, 11:23

    [RELATED: Updates: McHugh Creek Fire 7 percent contained at 815 acres] Last updated at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 The McHugh Creek Fire was 15 percent contained as of Saturday morning, incident commander Tom Kurth said at a Saturday morning community meeting. Roughly 330 firefighting personnel were battling the blaze, which was holding at 815 […]

  • News

    Silver Alert: Missing Kenai man believed to be in danger

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 23, 10:17

    Last updated at 11:50 a.m. on Saturday, July 23 ANCHORAGE — The Alaska Department of Public Safety and the Alaska Division of Homeland Security have initiated a Silver Alert for a missing 81-year-old man, who is believed to be in danger. The Kenai Police Department reported Oscar Rookard was last seen at his residence at […]

  • Lifestyle

    State health officials investigate salmonella illnesses in Bethel area

    by Charles Enoch / KYUK on Jul 23, 9:50

    This story originated from KYUK Public Media and was republished with permission BETHEL — The Alaska Division of Public Health is investigating salmonella infections in the Bethel area. A team is in Bethel to track down the source of the infection. Louisa Castrodale is an epidemiologist with the state’s Public Health division. “It’s not even the end […]

  • News

    Alasks State Trooper dispatch neglects a report for weeks

    by Davis Hovey / KNOM on Jul 23, 9:44

    On Friday afternoon, family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of local Nome resident John Penetac, Jr. The 51-year-old passed away on July 6. The cause of death is unknown. Earlier Friday morning, around 11:30am, an Alaska State Trooper dispatch reported a deceased man’s body being found near the area known as Cavota Pond. […]