Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to constituents during a town hall at the Funny River Community Center in Funny River, Alaska on Jan. 9, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to constituents during a town hall at the Funny River Community Center in Funny River, Alaska on Jan. 9, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Carpenter likens virus screening stickers to Star of David.

“If my sticker falls off, do I get a new one or do I get public shaming too?”

JUNEAU — A Nikiski lawmaker on Friday defended asking whether stickers that individuals may be asked to wear as part of a Capitol coronavirus screening process will be “available as a yellow Star of David.”

Republican Rep. Ben Carpenter of Nikiski said he was serious in making the comment in an email chain with other legislators. He was responding to proposed protocols aimed at guarding against the virus as lawmakers prepare to reconvene Monday. The protocols suggest stickers be worn to confirm someone at the Capitol had been screened.

“The point is, tying it to the Star of David shows, who amongst the human population has lost their liberties more than the Jewish people?” he said in an interview. “And if there were more people standing up for the loss of liberties prior to World War II, maybe we wouldn’t have had the Holocaust.”

“This is about the loss of liberties within our people, and we’re just turning a blind eye to it,” he said, adding that virus fears are “causing us to have policies that don’t make any sense.”

In his email, Carpenter asked about the screening process. “If my sticker falls off, do I get a new one or do I get public shaming too? Are the stickers available as a yellow Star of David?”

Rep. Grier Hopkins, a Fairbanks Democrat, responded to Carpenter’s email by calling the remark “disgusting. Keep your Holocaust jokes to yourself.”

The state has reported 388 cases of COVID-19 involving Alaska residents and eight cases involving nonresidents. There have been 10 deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to the state health department.

The Legislature, which recessed in late March amid coronavirus concerns, plans to reconvene Monday, prodded by a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of plans to distribute federal coronavirus relief funds.

The sole focus will be on taking action aimed at clearing up concerns about the funding, according to Senate majority communications director Daniel McDonald and a release from the House majority.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy submitted plans for distributing federal aid dollars to the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee under a process set out in law. The process allows a governor to submit plans to accept and spend additional federal or other program funds on a budget item.

The committee signed off despite questions about whether use of that process was appropriate for some of the items. Some legislators argued the items in question should have been taken up by the full Legislature.

The lawsuit raises similar issues.

A 90-day session limit set in law has passed, but the constitution permits sessions of up to 121 days, a deadline that will be reached Wednesday. The constitution allows a 10-day extension if there is sufficient support for one.


• By Becky Bohrer, Associated Press


More in News

An Arctic Ringed Seal, which is listed as a “threatened” subspecies of ringed seal under the Endangered Species Act. (Courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Feds reject petition to delist Arctic ringed seals as threatened

Since 2013, three subspecies of ringed seal — the Arctic, Okhotsk and Baltic — have been listed as threatened.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
DHSS: four additional deaths tied to COVID-19

Homer has 44 new positive cases reported in one day

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports 2nd-highest daily case increase; 10 new cases at Heritage Place

100% remote learning continues for central pen. schools through Dec. 18

Safety officials warn of home fire risks

Placing combustible materials too close to heat sources is also a common cause of fire death.

In this July 13, 2007, file photo, workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, near the village of Iliamma. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
Trump administration denies Pebble permit

The rejection was a surprise.

Ben Weagraff, Olivia Orth and Brian Mazurek stand next to a freshly cut black spruce off Funny River Road in Soldotna, Alaska on Dec. 8, 2019. (Photo by Victoria Peterson)
Refuge opens for holiday tree-cutting

Through Dec. 25 people can chop down a tree for Christmas in many areas of the refuge.

People are seen walking into Walmart on Wednesday, November 25 in Kenai, Alaska.
Stores adjust Black Friday shopping to pandemic

National retailers, local businesses and craft fairs will offer sales while emphasizing safety

File
Seward face covering mandate goes into effect Wednesday

It remains in effect for 30 days or until the declaration of emergency expires and is not renewed

Most Read