Rep. Zach Fansler, D-Bethel, attends a House Judiciary Committee meeting at the Capitol on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Rep. Zach Fansler, D-Bethel, attends a House Judiciary Committee meeting at the Capitol on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

After assault allegation, Fansler says he won’t resign. Will the legislators expel him anyway?

On Monday, the Capitol office of Rep. Zach Fansler, D-Bethel, was firmly locked.

The legislator was absent from Monday morning’s House floor session, and his customary seat in the House Judiciary Committee was empty. Even his nameplate was missing.

Two days after the Juneau Empire published the allegations of a woman who said Fansler slapped her, rupturing her eardrum, absence was the word of the day.

Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, has called for Fansler’s resignation, but Fansler — through an attorney — has said he will not resign. Several people with knowledge of the activities of the coalition House Majority said they expected a meeting of majority members late Monday could decide Fansler’s fate.

[Experts don’t buy Rep. Fansler’s ‘BDSM kink’ defense]

“I can’t comment,” said House Majority spokesman Mike Mason when asked about Fansler’s status within the majority.

Mason did confirm that Fansler has already been stripped of his legislative staff. Several people familiar with the options available to the 21-person majority (the arrival of John Lincoln would restore the majority to 22 members) said Fansler will face some kind of disciplinary action, even though he has not been charged with a crime.

He might be expelled from the majority, stripped of his committee assignments, censured or sanctioned.

The least-serious option would involve doing nothing and letting police and prosecutors handle it. The most serious option would be expulsion from the Legislature.

Article II, Section 12 of the Alaska Legislature states that the House and Senate are each “the judge of the election and qualifications of its members and may expel a member with the concurrence of two-thirds of its members.”

That has happened only once in Alaska history. On March 2, 1982, the Senate expelled Sen. George Hohman, D-Bethel, who had been convicted of attempting to bribe another legislator.

It isn’t clear whether the House Majority will select that option or whether enough members of the Republican House Minority would support an expulsion vote.

In a statement issued Saturday, House Minority Leader Charisse Millett said, “Reports of dating violence, sexual assault and harassment must not be tolerated anytime, anyplace and by any person, no matter their position or title.”

She went on to add, “We are living in a critical time during history, the culture of harassment and assault needs to end. We respect this victim, and all victims, for having fortitude, strength and courage to report abuse. House Republicans look forward to the day when this type of action is no longer occurring.”

• Contact reporter James Brooks at or call 523-2258.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 20

Here’s what to expect this week.

Bartlett Regional Hospital’s crisis stabilization center during its unveiling on June 14, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital shuts down programs at recently opened Aurora Behavioral Health Center

Crisis stabalization program halted at center due to lack of funds and staff, officials say.

A car on Gastineau Avenue is partially buried by a mudslide that occurred during record rainfall on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Photo by Simba Blackman)
New July rainfall record set for Juneau with a week to go; Suicide Basin nears 2023 fill level

No more heavy storms expected this month, according to forecaster.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. Board of Trustees votes for a new chair and vice chair during a meeting in Fairbanks on Wednesday. (Screenshot from APFC livestream)
Ellie Rubenstein resigns from Permanent Fund board, Ethan Schutt displaced as chair in wake of email allegations

Trustees elect new chair, vice chair Wednesday morning; Rubenstein announces resignation hours later

Police and other emergency officials treat Steven Kissack after he was shot on Front Street on Monday, July 15, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Names of officers involved in death of Steven Kissack released, along with more details of standoff

JPD states Kissack threatened to kill officers; one officer who fired gun cleared in 2016 shooting.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, speaks on Jan. 4, 2024, at a town hall meeting on the possible Albertsons-Kroger grocery merger. The meeting was held at the Teamsters Local 959 headquarters in Anchorage. Peltola said on Tuesday she has not decided whether to support her party’s likely candidate, Vice President Kamala Harris. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Mary Peltola withholds support for Kamala Harris, is ‘keeping an open mind’

Congresswoman says she’s considering Harris presidency’s affect on Alaska as an oil-dependent state.

People arrive for a service at Resurrection Lutheran Church on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Lawsuit: Resurrection Lutheran Church leaders have been ousted, clarity in ‘ministerial work’ needed

Pastor Karen Perkins, two others targeted in long-brewing feud at church known for helping homeless.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, July 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, July 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read