Alaska legislators’ prefiled bills range from marriage equality to fisheries management

the Alaska State Capitol
The Alaska State Capitol in Juneau. (Rashah McChesney)

Alaska legislators have so far prefiled 68 bills and resolutions ahead of the Jan. 17 session start date. 

The bills address a wide range of issues, including political contributions, election security and electric bikes.

One prefiled resolution proposes to amend an obsolete section of the Alaska Constitution that defines marriage as only existing between “one man and one woman.” 

House Rep. Andy Josephson, an Anchorage Democrat, sponsored the resolution. He said it was especially important to him after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down abortion protections last summer. 

“The Supreme Court for the first time in history, has removed civil rights. And we would be foolish to just watch them do it and not intervene to protect the civil liberties of our own citizens,” he said.

Same-sex marriage has been recognized in Alaska since 2014. President Joe Biden signed a law last month federally recognizing same-sex and interracial marriage. But Josephson said he doesn’t trust that the Supreme Court won’t eventually strike down that law too.

Josephson has introduced similar legislation in the past in an attempt to recognize gay marriage in the state constitution, but each time it has died without a vote. He said while he’s not optimistic the proposed amendment will make it to the ballot in 2024, he thinks it’s important for voters to know where lawmakers stand on the issue.

Kodiak Republican Sen. Louise Stutes prefiled three fisheries-related bills to support developing fisheries in the state and reduce commercial vessel registration fees. A third proposed bill, which previously never made it out of the House, would allow Board of Fish and Board of Game members with conflicts of interest to participate in discussions, provided they don’t vote on the matter.

“Why would you have a board member with an area of expertise, and then not let him share his area of expertise with other board members?” she said. “It’s crazy.”

Rep. Genevieve Mina and Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, both Anchorage Democrats, submitted parallel bills to establish October as Filipino American Heritage Month. 

Mat-Su and Valdez Republican Sen. Mike Shower prefiled a series of bills related to election security, voter registration and voting machines. 

More prefiled bills will be released on Friday, Jan. 13. Prefiled legislation will be formally introduced on the first day that each chamber is organized. 

a portrait of a woman outside

Kavitha George is Alaska Public Media’s climate change reporter. Reach her at Read more about Kavithahere.

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