State House Bill 1 (HB1) was ramrodded through a Juneau floor vote on Friday with a strong push from the rural Bush Caucus. Many legislators didn’t know it was coming up for a floor vote until the night before and felt rushed to study it in a manner that brought back memories of Nancy Pelosi’s railroading through of the Affordable Care Act when she said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
If HB1 is passed by the State Senate in its current form and signed into law, it can cause a host of problematic consequences for the citizens of Alaska and United States Sovereignty as a whole. First, it will add additional layers of state bureaucracy at a time when the Alaska Legislature is bleeding the annual GDP of a small seafaring nation by spending over $6B with only $2B in revenue largely because we already have over 24k state employees we can’t afford now. Adding more state employees and red tape to further moribund our natural resource development does not make economic sense. Secondly, it sends a clear message to President Obama and the United States Senate that Alaska residents support the U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty which would cede U.S. sovereignty and wealth to a UN organization!
This bill is heavily reminiscent of the attempt to create the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program (ACZMP) with Ballot Measure Prop 2 back in 2012. It looks like the spirit of this has been re-crafted into this bill to circumvent the will of the Alaskan voters who trounced Prop 2 at the polls.
Growing state bureaucracy typically results in increased delays and costs, while resulting in poorer decision making in the end. As far as the arctic goes, development and research efforts are presently underway through the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission that already consists of plenty of “seats at the table.”
By far though the greatest logic blunder in HB1 is the Alaska GOP House support for the U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty (see subpart E on page 3 line 27 of the Bill). If the U.S. Senate were to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, it would reduce Alaska’s “bargaining position at the table” as it were and cede this to a U.N. organization known as the ‘ISA’ or International Seabed Authority. The Law of the Sea Treaty includes some very disturbing elements. It would compromise our national defense capabilities and require the redistribution of wealth from the US Treasury to undeveloped countries, some of which intensely dislike us and are state sponsors of terrorism!
If our legislators took the time to poll Alaskans, they would soundly reject the U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty provision expressed in HB1 by a margin larger than our state coastline. Alaskans by in large are not fans of the United Nations and HB1 is a sneaky way of circumventing both their views and the results of Ballot Prop 2 that soundly rejected the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program in 2012.
This bill now proceeds to the State Senate where it must be killed. When state legislators vote contrary to the will of the majority of Alaskan citizens on not one voter issue but two, they arise the heat of the electorate which could melt the very thin ice they are treading on.
Here’s how the recent vote went:
Yeas: Chenault, Claman, Colver, Drummond, Foster, Gara, Gruenberg, Guttenberg, Hawker, Herron, Hughes, Johnson, Josephson, Kawasaki, Keller, Kito, Kreiss-Tomkins, Millett, Munoz, Neuman, Olson, Ortiz, Pruitt, Reinbold, Saddler, Seaton, Stutes, Talerico, Tarr, Thompson, Tilton, Wool.
Nays: Gattis, Wilson.
Excused: Edgmon, LeDoux, Lynn, Nageak, Tuck, Vazquez.
Click HERE for text of the bill.