Diary

Governor Palin on Leaving the State and the Legislature's Record

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on April 13, 2009 defended her forthcoming 36-hour absence from Juneau. The salient point of the defense is in the statement by the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Mike Nizich, who worked for seven governors including Governor Palin: “Every governor has traveled during the legislative session. Had this group done its homework, they would have realized that Governor Palin has had numerous meetings with lawmakers this session and has been in constant communication with them” (Absence, 2009, ¶4). He continued: “During the final week of session, legislators rarely want governors around stirring things up,” Nizich said. “We did not anticipate that the governor’s political opponents would want their hands held in the final hours of the session” (Absence, 2009, ¶5).

Commentary

Now, we’re going to go beyond the release and view a table of those bills introduced by the Governor and those introduced by either Alaska’s House or Senate. The tables both speak volumes. And, it is rather disingenuous that Governor Palin’s political rivals who are doing everything they can to undermine her — i.e. get rid of her — now want her to in the words of Nizich to “hold their hands.” Then, commentary continues and this entry closes with a reference list.

Following is a table of bills requested by Governor Palin:

BILL SHORT TITLE SPONSOR(s) STATUS DATE
HB
81
APPROP: OPERATING
BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
CONF COM APTD H&S 4/8/2009
HB
82
BUDGET: CAPITAL, SUPP.
& OTHER APPROPS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) FIN 1/22/2009
HB
83
APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH
BUDGET
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
CONF COM APTD H&S 4/8/2009
HB
89
VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION
COMMITTEE
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) HSS 4/10/2009
HB
90
AIDEA:
BONDING/TAXATION/RECORDS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 4/11/2009
HB
91
ALCOHOL: LOCAL
OPTION/LICENSING/MINORS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) CRA 1/28/2009
HB
92
DIVEST INVESTMENTS IN
SUDAN
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) FIN 2/25/2009
HB
113
SUPPLEMENTAL/CAPITAL/OTHER
APPROPRIATIONS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 4/13/2009
HB
135
MEDICAID FOR ADULT DENTAL
SERVICES
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) HSS 2/16/2009
HB
154
SUPP./CAP. APPROPS: ECON.
STIMULUS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) FIN 2/25/2009
HB
155
AUTHORIZE ECONOMIC STIMULUS
PARTICIPATION
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) FIN 3/27/2009
HB
157
REEMPLOYMENT OF RETIREES;
EXEMPT SERVICE
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) FIN 4/1/2009
HB
162
SOUTHEAST STATE FOREST RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) RLS 4/13/2009
HB
163
ALASKA NATURAL GAS
DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) RES 4/10/2009
HB
164
IN-STATE PIPELINES: LEASES;
CERTIFICATION
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) ENE 3/2/2009
HB
172
STATE INVESTMENT IN
EDUCATION FUND
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 3/25/2009
HB
182
RAILBELT ENERGY &
TRANSMISSION CORP.
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) ENE 3/12/2009
HB
199
APPROPS: NON-TRANSPORTATION
STIMULUS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 4/13/2009
HB
213
UNEMPLOYMENT
AMENDMENTS:TRIBES/NPO
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) JUD 4/8/2009
SB
74
APPROP: OPERATING
BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 1/22/2009
SB
75
BUDGET: CAPITAL, SUPP.
& OTHER APPROPS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(H) FIN 4/13/2009
SB
76
APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH
BUDGET
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 1/22/2009
SB
81
DIVEST INVESTMENTS IN
SUDAN
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) WTI 1/26/2009
SB
82
MEDICAID FOR ADULT DENTAL
SERVICES
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 2/4/2009
SB
83
VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION
COMMITTEE
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 2/6/2009
SB
84
AIDEA: BONDING LIMITS;
CONFIDENTIALITY
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 2/27/2009
SB
85
ALCOHOL: LOCAL
OPTION/LICENSING/MINORS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 4/7/2009
SB
95
SUPPLEMENTAL/CAPITAL/OTHER
APPROPRIATIONS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 2/4/2009
SB
123
SUPP./CAP. APPROPS: ECON.
STIMULUS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 2/25/2009
SB
124
AUTHORIZE ECONOMIC STIMULUS
PARTICIPATION
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 2/25/2009
SB
126
REEMPLOYMENT OF RETIREES;
EXEMPT SERVICE
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) L&C 4/3/2009
SB
127
SOUTHEAST STATE FOREST RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) RES 3/20/2009
SB
135
ALASKA NATURAL GAS
DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) ENE 3/2/2009
SB
136
IN-STATE PIPELINES: LEASES;
CERTIFICATION
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) ENE 3/2/2009
SB
140
STATE INVESTMENT IN
EDUCATION FUND
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 3/18/2009
SB
143
RAILBELT ENERGY &
TRANSMISSION CORP.
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) ENE 3/9/2009
SB
161
APPROPS: NON-TRANSPORTATION
STIMULUS
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) FIN 3/20/2009
SB
178
UNEMPLOYMENT
AMENDMENTS:TRIBES/NPO
RLS BY REQUEST OF THE
GOVERNOR
(S) L&C 4/1/2009

Here is a list of the three bills and eight resolutions the Alaska State Legislature has introduced:

BILL SHORT TITLE SPONSOR(s) STATUS DATE
HB 2 BIRTH CERTIFICATE FOR STILLBIRTH GATTO TRANSM TO GOVERNOR 4/10/2009
HCR 7 DECORATION OF HONOR DAHLSTROM TRANSM TO GOVERNOR 4/9/2009
HCR 11 SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH FAIRCLOUGH TRANSM TO GOVERNOR 4/9/2009
HJR 12 GROUND-BASED MIDCOURSE DEFENSE SYSTEM DAHLSTROM TRANSM TO GOVERNOR 3/16/2009
HJR 19 OIL TANKER ESCORT VESSELS/OIL SPILL ANNIV AUSTERMAN TRANSM TO GOVERNOR 4/3/2009
HR 6 DEVELOP MENTAL HEALTH TRUST LAND STOLTZE TRANSM TO GOVERNOR 2/27/2009
HR 10 IN SUPPORT OF SENATOR TED STEVENS FOSTER TRANSM TO GOVERNOR 4/9/2009
SB 89 RETIREMENT BENEFITS: TERRITORIAL GUARD FINANCE TRANSM TO GOVERNOR 4/8/2009
SB 111 INTRASTATE AIR SERVICE CERTIFICATES OLSON TRANSM TO GOVERNOR 4/3/2009
SCR 1 BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH: MARCH 2009 MCGUIRE TRANSM TO GOVERNOR 3/11/2009
SJR 5 AK TERRITORIAL GUARD RETIREMENT BENEFITS RLS TRANSM TO GOVERNOR

Commentary Continued….

Governor Palin has introduced many pieces of legislation for this session. Aside from legislation, this year alone, she has appointed 41 people to boards, commissions, and councils, made two judicial appointments and has an Attorney General appointment pending confirmation — his proceeding has moved from the State House to the State Senate. The Governor also executed a humanitarian airlift to distressed communities in western Alaska, accounting for some of 14 days she was out of Juneau — compared to 45 for her most recent predecessor, and 38 for the one before him (Absence, 2009, ¶7).

While her enemies crow about about her 36-hour absence, each of Governor Palin’s bills are held up in committee, including five by State Senator Lesil McGuire alone. The legislature had passed 189 bills in 2008. This year, they have passed 10 and all of the Governor’s original projects were removed from the capital budget. The only ones the legislature seems to be moving are the two budget bills because they are constitutionally mandated to do so.

Lesil is holding up the progress on five of the Governor’s bills between the Energy, Resources, and World Trade/Tech/Innovations committees.

Bills such as divesting the state’s retirement systems and the Permanent Fund Dividend from companies that do business in Sudan have been stuck in one of McGuire’s committees since January 26.

The other four Governor’s bills McGuire will likely kill that are equally important to Alaska’s future include: one which expands the authority of the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority, and another which amends the state Right of Way Leasing have so the state can move forward on an in-state natural gasline; another creates a joint electric cooperative for the Railbelt region; and the last one establishes a new Southeast State Forest to ensure a long term supply of timber for local Alaska processors. These bills have been stuck in McGuire’s committees without hearings since March. This type of political gamesmanship is a disservice to Alaskans. Lesil is the Chair of Senate Energy, and Senate World Trade/Tech/Innovations committees, and co-chair of Senate Resources

Maybe instead of ankle-biting the Governor for her rather brief absence, these legislators might do well to use this time and pass a few piece of legislation that she introduced — things like that in-state gas pipeline for instance. We can give them a bye on the Railbelt consolidation, because it was the six utilities in question, not the legislature that is responsible for the delay (Joling, 2009, ¶1-3). Otherwise, the loud complaining about Governor Palin’s trip rings hollow in context of these tables, and the lengthy list of her other accomplishments. Both tables speak volumes about these legislators, and how they have spent most of their 90-day session.

A good portion of it of course was spent engaging the Governor in a power play with two nominees for the same State Senate seat which remains empty. Speaking of which — on April 14, 2009 Governor Palin re-submitted the two rejected appointees — Grussendorf and Nelson, and added a third — Alan Wilson, and told the Senate Democrats to select from among the three (Cockerham, 2009, ¶1-3).

While they’re not busy trying to figure out ways to spite Governor Palin, these characters are working on some truly important legislation. These initiatives are so important that they are both in the respective chamber’s Rules Committees. Gas pipelines. Bah! Who needs those? They pale in (pun very much intended) importance to the marmot. Yes, a one of the most crucial pieces of legislation for this session has to be SB-58 renaming February 2 from “Groundhog Day” to “Marmot Day.” For those not in the cognoscenti on this earth-shattering issue, groundhogs and marmots are the same animal! But the Alaska State Senate does not enjoy a monopoly on animal obsession — the House must have a piece of this action too. Enter HB-6, which will keep Alaskans safe and secure from those who would commit bestiality by categorizing this admittedly rather perverse behavior as “cruelty to animals.” Is it cruel if the animal enjoys it?

It doesn’t take an Alaska resident to see what is going on here — in fact an argument can be made that an outside set of eyes offers a different clarifying perspective. Governor Palin could have used the start of the legislative session to do things like attend a National Governor’s Association meeting, and CPAC. She could have been mixing it up with the inside-the-Beltway elites primping and priming for a POTUS run. Indeed anyone preparing her for such a campaign would have told her to be at these meetings or be nowhere — and delegate the humanitarian mission down to Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell (who was present with Governor Palin on that humanitarian mission). As CPAC reached its gala climax, and attendees forked out an additional $125 to be graced by these elites’ presence, Governor Palin had just finished personally distributing food and supplies to households in a remote village 5,000 miles away from D.C.. As the elites popped the corks off their champagne bottles — Governor Palin in her finest hour, knelt in the snow before an a little Eskimo girl, crouched to the girl’s height, and embraced her.

This is what they want to chain Governor Palin to her desk for: to give marmots their proper due and to save animals from perverts? And even these “critical” (being said with all due sarcasm) pieces of legislation are nowhere near ready for Governor Palin to sign. They’ve pretty much tossed her pieces of legislation into the circular file; and offered little of substance for her to sign — but she’s not supposed to leave the state. Given the complete track record delineated above, these legislators are not in any position to comment on Governor Palin’s 36-hour absence.

References

Cockerham, S. (2009, April 14). Palin names three candidates for Senate seat. Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved April 14, 2009 from: http://community.adn.com/adn/node/140552

Joling, D. (2009, April 9). Railbelt utility plan on hold till next session. Associated Press. Retrieved April 14, 2009 from: http://juneauempire.com/stories/041209/sta_428496612.shtml

Political adversaries allow politics to cloud judgment in final week. (2009, April 14). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved April 14, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1747

Requestor Multi-Bill Display: 26th Legislature. (2009, April 14). The Alaska State Legislature. Retrieved April 14, 2009 from: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/req_multibill.asp?session=26&subject=THE%20GOVERNOR&type=Alt