Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) listens to testimony in Juneau, Alaska, in this undated photo. (Photo courtesy of Peter Micciche)

Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) listens to testimony in Juneau, Alaska, in this undated photo. (Photo courtesy of Peter Micciche)

Local lawmakers prefile first bills of 32nd legislature

State Sens. Peter Micciche and Gary Stevens and State Rep. Sarah Vance have prefiled bills

A list of bills prefiled by the 32nd Alaska Legislature, which will be in session from Jan. 19 to May 19, showed that topics of legislative interest among local lawmakers include education, fisheries and other regional issues.

Prefiled bills are those which legislators offer before a legislative session begins, according to the Alaska Legislature’s Glossary of Legislative Terms. Each lawmaker is allowed to file a maximum of 10 pieces of legislation prior to Jan. 1.

State Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, prefiled two bills having to do with alcohol regulations and fishing permit buybacks. Micciche also introduced the buyback program during the 31st legislative session. According to that bill’s page, the last action it saw was when State Sen. Gary Stevens withdrew himself as a co-sponsor of the bill. Micciche’s other prefiled bill has to do with regulations of the alcohol industry.

Micciche represents Kenai, Soldotna, Seward, Nikiski, Funny River, Sterling, Cooper Landing and Moose Pass.

State Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, prefiled six bills, most having to do with education. One would establish the Alaska middle college program for public school students. Another would change reporting requirements of the University of Alaska Board of Regents and another would extend the special education service agency.

Stevens represents Kodiak Island, Cordova, Homer, Anchor Point, Kasilof, Ninilchik, Yuktat, Seldovia and Tyonek.

State Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, has prefiled one bill having to do with the Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery in Kachemak Bay.

State Reps. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski and Ron Gillham, R-Kenai, had not filed any prefiled legislation as of Jan. 8, when the list of bills was released.

Other prefiled bills include four filed by State Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, that have to do with the use of force by peace officers in Alaska.

SB 1 would prohibit the use of chokeholds by peace officers. SB 2 would require the Alaska Police Standards Council to adopt regulations requiring certain officers to de-escalate encounters with a person who resists or responds aggressively to officer contact. SB 3 would require the Alaska Police Standards Council to adopt regulations requiring certain officers to attempt to de-escalate and “exhaust all alternative non-lethal methods of engagement” before they discharge a firearm at another person. SB 4 would consider the discharge of a firearm by a peace officer at someone driving a vehicle unless the vehicle is being driven such that it poses “an immediate threat” of risk to another person.

Other prefiled bills included one sponsored by State Sen. Tom Begich, D-Anchorage, that would require school districts to set maximum class sizes, one sponsored by State Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton, that would result in the audit of CARES Act funds spent by municipalities and one sponsored by State Rep. Grier Hopkins, D-Fairbanks, that would require certain school districts to give nursing mothers breaks and a location to “express” breast milk.

Throughout the legislative session, Alaskans can track legislation, watch hearings and learn more about the legislature on akleg.gov.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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