• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
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

    Troopers advise not to pick up Seward Highway hitchhikers after male driver flees on foot

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 28, 13:28

    Alaska State Troopers are advising Seward Highway drivers not to pick up hitchhikers after a male driver failed to yield for a traffic stop and then fled on foot. Initially, the driver didn’t yield for a trooper at a traffic stop near Tustumena Lake, according to a statement from AST spokesperson Tim DeSpain. “The vehicle […]

  • News

    Mayor Sullivan: More funds needed to push SAP project forward

    by Lauren Maxwell on Feb 28, 11:31

    Anchorage’s troubled computer software system, known as SAP, needs more cash to get it going. Mayor Dan Sullivan’s administration asked the Anchorage Assembly Friday to spend $8.3 million to hire consultants who can help to push the project forward. Sullivan said the money will pay for contracts that would run through Sept. 30 and carry over […]

  • News

    Pedestrian running across Muldoon Road struck by SUV

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 28, 0:16

    A pedestrian running across Muldoon Road late Friday night was struck by an oncoming vehicle, police say. Just after 11 p.m., six units from the Anchorage Police Department responded to the scene of a collision involving a Toyota SUV and a male pedestrian near Duben Avenue. The driver remained on scene and was cooperating with […]

  • News

    2014 Alaska drug report shows increases in heroin and meth use

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 27, 22:42

    A report highlighting cases related to substance abuse in Alaska in 2014 was released by the Department of Public Safety Friday. The Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit’s 2014 annual drug report covered arrests and seizures of items ranging from alcohol and prescription medication to heroin and meth labs. Over $28 million worth of drugs — in street […]

  • News

    CANstruction raises hunger awareness

    by Bonney Bowman on Feb 27, 21:04

    Making art and raising awareness about hunger, all with cans of food — the 2015 CANstruction food drive kicked off Friday at University Mall. Teams have 12 hours to build large sculptures, using only canned food. This year’s theme is “Under the Sea.” Organizers say it’s a great way to bring the issue of hunger in […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Feb. 27

    by KTVA Weather on Feb 27, 20:55

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound There will be light snow on Saturday with some rain in there, too. No accumulation is expected in lower elevations. Valdez will only have snow. Southeast Southeast Alaska will have cloudy skies with light wind. Interior/North Slope Locations will have snow, blowing snow and blizzard conditions depending on the location. Mat-Su […]

  • News

    Students recreate tent city in school gym

    by Shannon Ballard on Feb 27, 20:43

    From a tent city to modern metropolis, Anchorage has come a long way in its 100 years. Some local students have brought to life a piece of the town’s history in a very real way. Polaris K-12 School students Breelyn Mangold and Canzada Maruski were curious about what was life like back in 1915. The girls […]

  • News

    Students link up for Anchorage children’s hospital

    by Shannon Ballard on Feb 27, 20:31

    Students around Anchorage found out that a little effort can reap big results. Together they raised more than $4,000 for the Children’s Hospital at Providence. All it took was a few weeks of selling small paper links for the Chains of Caring project for 25 cents, which added up. Highland Tech High School alone raised nearly $300. […]