Chairs await state lawmakers in the House chambers at the Alaska State Capitol on Friday. A total of 14 prefile bills were published during the day in addition to 68 published Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Chairs await state lawmakers in the House chambers at the Alaska State Capitol on Friday. A total of 14 prefile bills were published during the day in addition to 68 published Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

More do’s and don’ts proposed by pols

Sequels are almost never as grandiose as originals, and such is the case with the second batch of prefile bills from state lawmakers released Friday that are fewer in number and generally less eye-grabbing than those from a few days earlier.

Four House bills and 10 from the Senate were added to the 68 initial proposals in advance of the start of the 33rd Alaska State Legislature on Tuesday. The new legislation covers some already popular issues such as election and police reforms, although with a variety of new topics ranging from employee wage disclosures to airbag fraud.

A final round of prefile bills will be published on opening day.

Rep. Dan Saddler, an Eagle River Republican who is returning to the House after serving from 2011 to 2018, said Friday he’s waiting to introduce bills until he knows the makeup of the majority, which could either be a bipartisan coalition similar to the past two sessions or one led by Republicans.

“You don’t know who’s going to be in a position to help your bills move forward,” he said.

[The ‘Freshmen 19’ get ready for the coming session]

As with the first round of prefiles, many of the bills published Friday are proposals being reintroduced after failing to advance during previous sessions (such as a constitutional amendment imposing a 90-day session limit instead of 120) and/or versions of a“model” legislation being provided by interest groups to state legislatures nationally (such as a ban on police chokeholds).

No new prefile bills by Juneau’s three Democratic legislators were published Friday.

The first round of prefiles included major attention-getters such as restricting abortion rights, legalizing same-sex marriages and repealing rank choice voting. The latter was among a multitude of election-related bills, many by Republican Sen. Mike Shower, a Wasilla Republican, stemming from sometimes false claims about election integrity and security.

Only two new election bills were released Friday, both by Rep. Calvin Schrage, an Anchorage independent. One makes various voting-related modifications including lessening restrictions on casting absentee/special needs/questioned ballots; the other updates campaign finance disclosure rules, including provisions requiring more prominent notice for out-of-state contributions.

Among the other bills published Friday:

■ A ban on police chokeholds (SB 32 by Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, an Anchorage Democrat).

■ Giving the governor additional power when appointing judges and magistrates, including the ability name additional candidates if he requests initial finalists submitted by a judicial nominating commission (SB 33 by Shower).

■ Reestablishing through 2031 the Citizens’ Advisory Commission on Federal Management Areas in Alaska, a governor-appointed board tasked with residents’s issues related to the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) that governs federal lands in the state (SB 34 Sen. by James Kaufman, an Anchorage Republican).

■ Establishing a nine-member Alaska Public Counsel that appoints the state’s Public Defender (and lengthens the term to six years instead of four), with three members each appointed by the governor, chief justice, and individual leaders of the state House/Senate (SB36 by Matt Claman, an Anchorage Democrat).

■ Making it misdemeanor to repeatedly, falsely or otherwise call emergency officials in a way that interferes with their duties and communications (SB 38 by Sen. David Wilson, a Wasilla Republican).

■ Adds wage disclosure requirements for employers publishing solicitations for workers, and protection for employees to discuss their wages with others while not being required to disclose past wages to employers (SB 39 by Sen. Forrest Dunbar, an Anchorage Democrat).

■ Modifies requirements for appointing judges and magistrates with several provisions, but not all, similar to Shower’s bill (HB 34 by Rep. George Rauscher, a Sutton Republican).

■ Redefining certificate of need program requirements for health care facilities (HB 34 by Rauscher).

• Contact reporter Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com

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