Lifestyle

Senate passes bill banning vaccine requirements


Lawmakers had a busy day Wednesday, with each the Alaska Senate and House of Representatives voting to move a number of payments and the House Finance Committee releasing an up to date price range proposal.

In the Senate

Senators handed two payments, the primary would prohibit restrictions on firearms throughout a catastrophe declaration and the opposite would stop companies from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for workers.

Several Republican senators rose to deal with considerations with the vaccination invoice. The invoice — Senate Bill 156 — got here from Sen. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, and prohibits companies or authorities companies from requesting COVID-19 vaccination standing or requiring the vaccine as a situation of employment. Reinbold, a frequent critic of COVID-19 mitigation measures, has been banned from Alaska Airlines as a result of her refusal to adjust to COVID-19 mitigation necessities.

Speaking on the ground Wednesday, Reinbold mentioned her invoice was to cease the segregation and discrimination at present occurring towards unvaccinated individuals who had been denied entry to sure services or companies.

Sen. Natasha von Imhof, R-Anchorage, mentioned some companies corresponding to elder care services want the pliability to require vaccines of their staff.

“Private businesses don’t want interference from government on either side,” von Imhof mentioned. “This is simply a mandate it’s just on the other side of the aisle.”

In a vote of 13-6, the invoice picked up some Democratic votes. Sens. Tom Begich, Anchorage and Scott Kawasaki, Fairbanks, voted for the invoice. Republicans von Imhof and Sen. Bert Stedman, Sitka, voted towards. Juneau Sen. Jesse Kiehl, a Democrat, voted towards it.

In the House

For the second time this week ground periods within the House went into the night as lawmakers debated a invoice to enact limits on particular person marketing campaign contributions. On Monday and Wednesday House members first met within the morning, however as debates dragged out, the physique recessed till the afternoon or night to proceed the session.

House members have been capable of move two payments throughout Wednesday’s morning session. The first modified necessities for marriage witnesses with the intention of constructing it simpler for vacationers to have vacation spot weddings within the state.

The House additionally handed a invoice to enact a tax on car-rental apps corresponding to Turo, which permits folks to hire out their automobiles. The tax could be just like these already paid by industrial automobile rental corporations.

But a invoice to enact limits on particular person marketing campaign contributions took the House into the night once more Wednesday. On Monday House members debated 17 amendments to the invoice, a lot of which sought so as to add election safety provisions to the invoice.

The invoice would place limits of $2,000 on particular person contributions to Alaska’s political marketing campaign. Supports of the invoice — primarily Democrats — mentioned the invoice protected Alaska’s elections from undue affect and corruption.

But members of the House minority mentioned the invoice was an infringement on free speech and unfairly punished particular person donors whereas massive unbiased expenditure teams had no limits underneath federal legislation.

“The problem is independent expenditure groups,” mentioned Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Big Lake. “We have not yet ID’d the problem. (The bill) is not a solution to the actual problem.”

After a number of hours of ground session Wednesday, the House recessed till 6:30 p.m. to take up the invoice once more.

House Finance Committee

In between ground periods, the House Finance Committee reviewed an up to date model of the committee’s price range proposal. The committee’s price range included elevated funding for varsity bond debt reimbursement and ahead funded the training price range by the following 12 months.

The committee’s proposal would pay a Permanent Fund Dividend of $1,250 but additionally consists of the proposal for a one-time “energy relief payment” of $1,300. Finance Committee Co-Chair Neal Foster, D-Nome, informed committee members Wednesday afternoon amendments to the invoice have been due by Friday.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.






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