• 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

  • DayBreak

    Alaskans line up by the dozens for first taste of Krispy Kreme

    by Sierra Starks on Aug 30, 13:31

    Alaskans lined up by the dozens for their first taste of Krispy Kreme Tuesday. Doors opened at 5 a.m., but eager customers camped out overnight in anticipation of the “Hot Now” light to be turned on. “There were so many people here,” said Krispy Kreme Alaska franchise owner Jack Lewis of the crowd that gathered […]

  • Politics

    ‘I made a mistake’: Juneau lawmaker withdraws letters supporting convicted child abusers

    by Liz Raines on Aug 30, 12:53

    Juneau representative Cathy Munoz has withdrawn two letters she wrote in support of sentencing review for two convicted child abusers after receiving criticism from child advocacy groups, who said the move would discourage victims from coming forward. “The two letters I wrote in support of sentencing review unintentionally caused pain to victims of sexual abuse […]

  • News

    Obama cuts short the sentences of 111 federal inmates

    by Associated Press on Aug 30, 12:02

    WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama has cut short the sentences of 111 federal inmates in another round of commutations for those convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. Obama has long called for phasing out strict sentences for drug offenses, arguing they lead to excessive punishment and incarceration rates unseen in other developed countries. White House […]

  • News

    Alaska agency turns to crowdfunding for park project

    by Associated Press on Aug 30, 11:54

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – With Alaska’s fiscal crisis drying up funding for a number of state projects, officials hope a crowdfunding campaign will raise $50,000 toward shoring up a crumbling riverbank creeping toward century-old buildings at a state park. Alaska is among a growing list of governments and civic organizations across the country going that […]

  • News

    Politics, shootings undercut criminal justice overhaul

    by Associated Press on Aug 30, 10:19

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Hopes for overhauling the nation’s criminal justice system have faded in Congress this year, undercut by a rash of summer shootings involving police and the pressure of election-year politics. Republicans had joined forces with Democrats in hopes of revising the 1980s and ’90s-era federal “tough on crime” laws to reduce prison overcrowding […]

  • News

    4.0-magnitude earthquake strikes east of Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 4:49

    You might have felt a shake 4:27 a.m. Tuesday. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Earthquake Center reports the 4.0 quake hit 25 miles east of Anchorage, 10 miles north of Girdwood, in the Chugach Mountain Range.

  • News

    Bragaw Street crash sends multiple victims to the hospital

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 0:46

    A late night crash on Bragaw Street resulted in at last six people needing transportation to local hospitals. Two vehicles collided on Bragaw Street near the Glenn Highway overpass and the crash was reported at 12:32 a.m., according to Anchorage police dispatchers. A police sergeant on scene told KTVA at least six people were transported […]

  • Crime

    3,400 and counting: Governor calls for inventory of untested rape kits in Alaska

    by Daniella Rivera on Aug 29, 23:15

    Gov. Bill Walker says the state’s number of untested rape kits is a problem, and he’s on a mission to figure out what to do about it. Last September, he asked every law enforcement agency across the state to report their inventory of untested sexual assault kits. All Alaska State Trooper posts reported their numbers […]