Archive for the ‘federalism’ Tag

Jefferson on the Federal Government   2 comments

This is Part 2 of a 2-part series.

Turning his mind from the Constitution and form of government, Jefferson hoped to explain the checks and balances of the federal system and also asked if perhaps the country should not be so attached to any one system

Jefferson knew that most foreigners did not understand how the United States worked and he attempted to explain the interaction to Major Cartwright.

With respect to our State and federal governments, I do not think their relations correctly understood by foreigners. They generally suppose the former subordinate to the latter. But this is not the case. They are co-ordinate departments of one simple and integral whole.

Jefferson rightly surmised that most foreigners though the states were under the authority of the federal government (which is how a national government works), but he was quick to correct this misunderstanding. Were he to suddenly be resurrected in the 21st century, he would quickly and probably forcefully remind us that our government was never supposed to involve the states kowtowing to the federal government. They were meant to be equal partners.

To the State governments are reserved all legislation and administration, in affairs which concern their own citizens only, and to the federal government is given whatever concerns foreigners, or the citizens of other States; these functions alone being made federal. The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government; neither having control over the other, but within its own department.

Jefferson understood that the states were to focus on their own domestic matters while the federal government was only to function in matters with other countries or when states could not agree. He rightly states that the federal government is the foreign branch of the same government. Neither was supposed to have control over the other. I think this would be one of those times when Jefferson would want to amend the Constitution, if he could see how bloated and tyrannical the federal government has become.

There are one or two exceptions only to this partition of power. But, you may ask, if the two departments should claim each the same subject of power, where is the common umpire to decide ultimately between them? In cases of little importance or urgency, the prudence of both parties will keep them aloof from the questionable ground: but if it can neither be avoided nor compromised, a convention of the States must be called, to ascribe the doubtful power to that department which they may think best.

Jefferson foresaw conflicts and saw two solutions to them. One would be where the two parties just ignore when one oversteps on unimportant issues. That has not worked well fo us in the 200 years since Jefferson wrote the letter. His second option for dealing with overreach has never been used. We’ve never called a convention of the States to discuss whether doubtful power should be ascribed to the states or the federal government. Instead, the federal government has continually assimilated powers to itself and told the states to sit down and shut up. Jefferson, were he alive today, would be organizing committees of correspondence and militias in Virginia and urging Alaska and all the other states to do the same.

You will perceive by these details, that we have not yet so far perfected our constitutions as to venture to make them unchangeable. But still, in their present state, we consider them not otherwise changeable than by the authority of the people, on a special election of representatives for that purpose expressly: they are until then the lex legum.

Jefferson explained that the Constitution of the United States and the constitutions of the states were not set in concrete, but could only be changed by a special committee, elected by the people for the purpose of making changes. Until such a convention had been organized and met, the constitutions were considered the “law of laws.”

But can they be made unchangeable? Can one generation bind another, and all others, in succession forever? I think not. The Creator has made the earth for the living, not the dead. Rights and powers can only belong to persons, not to things, not to mere matter, unendowed with will. The dead are not even things. The particles of matter which composed their bodies, make part now of the bodies of other animals, vegetables, or minerals, of a thousand forms. To what then are attached the rights and powers they held while in the form of men? A generation may bind itself as long as its majority continues in life; when that has disappeared, another majority is in place, holds all the rights and powers their predecessors once held, and may change their laws and institutions to suit themselves. Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.

Jefferson touches on something that we can go around and around on. Should constitutions be unchangeable? Should one generation bind the next to what was important to that earlier generation? That earlier generation is dead and dead things should not dictate to the living, Jefferson said.

But it should be noted that Jefferson considered rights and the powers that issue from them to be the same from generation to generation. So while subsequent generations can change the structure of government set out in the constitution, the inherent and unalienable rights of men remain the same.

You see, that’s where folks like me disagree with those who would be our rulers today. They’re fine with the current structure of government, but want our rights to be changeable based on what they think is best. Rights, to them, flow from the government. Jefferson and our founders saw rights as being inherent in the individual. I live, therefore, I have a right to an opinion and to state it, a right to practice my faith as I see fit, a right to bear arms, a right to security in my person, property and papers, a right to a fair trial, and a right to be unmolested in my efforts to support myself and my family (in so long as those efforts do not harm anyone else). I don’t live in that world anymore. I live in one where my rights can be taken away whenever the government decides they are inconvenient to the government or some group the government favors.

I object.

I Did Not Consent

Finding the elusive reset button   Leave a comment

The winter of our discontent: ‘Reset button’ to improve state-federal relations may prove elusive – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Editorials.

This is part and parcel with what I was discussing with Thom Stark yesterday.

Lela on Monopolies   1 comment

Lela Markham Davidson Ditch CorrectedI am not completely opposed to government providing services, Thom. I’m on record supporting the State of Alaska building and owning (then leasing to a private company) a large-diameter natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to tidewater for export to the Asian market. Although government not interfering in the private market is my default position, I support the gas line being built by the State of Alaska for a variety of reasons.

The State of Alaska is an odd duck among state governments.  In many ways, Alaska is more a resource corporation than a government. Governor Walker is the CEO, the Legislature is the board of directors, and the people are the shareholders. The people currently pay no income or statewide sales tax and we receive a dividend on the state’s long-term investment account. The state government is funded by the sale of our resources by the permit holders – Conoco-Phillips, British Petroleum, etc. Our cut of the proceeds is substantial. In this, we are more like Saudi Arabia than Ohio.

For almost 60 years, the energy companies have promised they would build a gas pipeline, but somehow they never get around to it. Alaska neeeds to diversify our economy and Interior residents desperately need energy relief (home heating diesel was between $2.60 and $3.80 a gallon this last year; it takes approximately 1500 gallons to heat an average sized home for six months of winter; electricity is 24 cents a kilowatt hour — that’s what I mean by DESPERATE). If the State of Alaska were truly a resource corporation, building a pipeline would be an investment strategy that would pay huge dividends in the future, but because we think of it as a State government, we’ve just waited and waited until we’ve finally recognized that private industry has no real interest in building the gas line until it completely benefits them. This speaks to the colonial nature of Alaska, a subject for later. While I would oppose the State using my tax dollars to build the thing, I support it taking the money the oil companies pay for our resources, leveraging credit against our existing resources, and building the gas line ourselves, with the goal of diversifying our economy and ending dependence upon the federal government.  Chattanooga’s situation is entirely different.

The City of Chattanooga is a taxpayer subsidized entity and government exists to meet public needs by providing infrastructure and services when there are no other ways to provide them. You could argue, as the City of Chattanooga claims, that EPB is building needed infrastructure that the private sector isn’t interested in, but I don’t think that’s accurate. The Internet certainly makes my work and play easier, but studies have shown that more than half of Internet usage is entertainment – You-Tube, Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video. Branching into rural areas is expensive for an ISP, which is why Comcast and ATT were delaying, waiting for technological improvements, but also citing a low level of interest from users. Chattanooga already had broadband, just not fiber optic. Unlike the Alaska gas line, ulta high-speed Internet hasn’t been decades in the making. City of Chattanooga started talking about it in 2008 and applied for stimulus funds in 2009. It really was a “need” created by the $7.2 billion for broadband investment in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (what we call the stimulus). According to this study by the Public Policy Institute of California broadband Internet has so far not resulted in more jobs and does not appear to increase telecommuting or other home-based work. Non-fiber optic broadband is widely avaialble – about 85% of US households had it in 2006. Some rural and suburban areas are still waiting, but it’s not necessary for government to provide it. Here in Alaska, many communities still don’t have regular cable, let alone fiber optics. When the Palin administration decided not to participate in stimulus-funded broadband, a group of Alaska Native corporations along with Arctic Slope Telephone Cooperative partnered with Quintillion to bring fiber optic under the Arctic Ocean to villages that currently only have satellite access. It’s coming down the Dalton Highway and will be accessible by other Alaskan communities by 2016.  And I will oppose my City government spending the money to build onto it and instead ask our local Internet providers to do it. Of course, Fairbanks already has broadband and there’s a lot of question whether anyone would notice the difference between traditional broadband and fiber optics. Programmers at Apple might. Ordinary humans … probably not. Speaking of Apple, Seattle is getting fiber optic broadband provided by a private company  which is also expanding in Denver, Portland, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Orlando, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, and Spokane. Rates are comparable to what EPB is charging, which also is counter to your assertion that government can do it cheaper. If government didn’t do it, Century Link, AT&T or Comcast would have done it and probably at a lower cost to the consumers.

The reasons I see private enterprise as generally preferrable to government-provided  services are several. Private enterprise allows customers to make choices. When my phone provider was providing lousy Internet service several years ago, I switched to a cable provider and got better service for a smaller monthly rate. I didn’t need a government official to tell me that I could get better service for less at a competitor. I researched that myself and made my own decision. Government monopolies tend to be very zealous of their customers. I can’t opt out of the City-provided weekly trash service at my home, even though there is a private provider nearby that could do the exact same pickup for $20 cheaper a month. I also like that private provider because I know that he is providing the service for a fair rate, not subsidizing the cost of my garbage pick up with my taxes.

Which is the problem I see with Chattanooga’s EPB. The money to build it came from the paychecks of American taxpayers across the country – from people who may never know fiber optic cable and probably won’t miss it. That’s money down the drain as far as they are concerned – money that could have been used to fund their retirements, or pay down their mortgages, or send their kids to college. Instead, it’s providing a good clear Netflix picture for someone in Tennessee.

EPB admits that expanding into rural areas will require that Chattanooga electric ratepayers subsidize fiber optic to those new areas, which has got the local taxpayers as well as the ratepayers up in arms. Yeah, sure they won’t need to pay shareholders – otherwise known as investors – but EPB also submitted a bill to City of Chatanooga and two other nearby towns for nearly $2 million. Where will that money come from? Taxes! According to that same article, subscriptions for the new cable service are only 2/3s of what was projected, suggesting the public wasn’t all that interested in one gig in the first place. Apparently, a couple of start-up tech firms relocated to Chattanooga for the Gig, but they can relocate to several other cities for a gig within the next year, so Chattanooga’s tech-hub dreams may not come to fruition, but the higher rates and taxes will be with residents for a good long while, as will the federal debt that ballooned to fund programs like this.

To me, all monopolies are bad, regardless if they are private or governmental. Natural monopolies do occur sometimes in utilities. It’s difficult for more than one company to distribute water to a neighborhood, for example, although historically electricity and gas were provided competitively in several US cities before the era of government-created monopolies began in the 1880s. The fact that I can get Internet from three different networks at my house – phone, cable and satellite – suggests that there is no natural monopoly for Internet . Monopolies can set their own rates without fear of customer reprisal. If my electric company gouges me (24 cents kwh), there’s not a lot I can do about it except go to the ratepayers’ annual meeting and whine along with my fellow abused ratepayers which (trust me) does nothing to lower the cost of electricity to my home.  Going to the State Public Utilities Board doesn’t lower rates either because they cite natural monopoly and the impossibility of properly evaluating rates in geographic isolation. Our electric cooperative, by the way, is a not-for-profit entity, supposedly owned by the ratepayers. Bottom line is – monopolies usually work against the consumer.

I’d love to discuss regulation sometime, but I want to say one last thing about states rights and federalization.

The Civil War is dead history, Thom, but states rights will continue to be an issue for as long as the federal government does not recognize the rights of states to govern within their own borders and the rights of individuals to choose what sort of state they want to live in. Federalism was always at the heart of the Constitution, but like many a good idea, it’s been subverted by a lack of understanding of our history and the growing power of government.

Where were Alaska’s Congressional delegation on Positive Train Control? We could argue that our two senators are essentially useless shills for big oil companies and don’t actually work for the State of Alaska. Alas, that is the unintended consequence of the 19th Amendment. We elect senators for six years during which time they have absolutely no accountability to the citizens who elected them or the states those citizens live in until their next election. Lisa Murkowski just started running for reelection in 2016 and it’s amazing to watch how pro-Alaskan she is now that she has to face the voters again. Begich and Murkowski claimed they argued on our behalf, but they voted for the bill that authorized PTC nationwide, so ….  I don’t think either offered any amendments to exempt rail lines that aren’t actually at risk of a head-on collision. Don Young did resist it and claims he is resisting it. He did vote against it.

The bigger issue however is that Alaska (and most Western states) are poorly represented in Congress. Don Young is one voice in 465. Larger population states do not understand the challenges of smaller population states and, therefore, enact laws that often do not makes sense for states with lots of land and few people because these laws are predicated on the idea of limited land and large populations that exist in the more urban large population states. Here’s a visual. Crunch Alaska’s landmass down and we fit into the states east of the Mississippi. We have three votes in Congress. The states east of the Mississippi have 350 votes in Congress. With that ratio, you might as well shout into a hurricane and expect to be heard.

Thom StarkAlaska is not the only state in that predicament. Small population states have no effective voice in Congress against large population states. The anti-federalists foresaw this problem, by the way. With the exception of Texas and Arizona, the states that complain the loudest about federal overreach are the states that have the least representation in Congress.  They’re also the ones that many of these mandates don’t make sense for because they lack the population to support unfunded mandates. Many of these states struggle economically because almost all of the land and therefore most of the resources belongs to the federal government, which doesn’t want to develop its resources, but would rather suck the taxpayers dry. Small population states suffer from a triple whammy of an artificial land shortage, illogically applied laws and regulations combined with inadequate Congressional representation. Faced with the intransigence of the federal administrative state, the affected states apply to their Congressional delegations, but those elected officials can’t be heard over the clamor of large-population states patting themselves on the back for solving a problem that the small-population states saw no evidence for. When a small-pop state goes to Congress with a real problem that requires a solution different than would be available in a large-pop state, we’re told our way can’t be used because it wouldn’t work in New York or California and all laws must be applied evenly, so we apply once more to our congressional delegations who have no real power in Congress … which leaves us laying out $161 million for a train monitoring program to prevent a problem that doesn’t exist in Alaska outside of a John Voigt movie.

We’ll come back to this subject, I think.

Survey asks Alaskans about seceding from the US | KTVA Anchorage CBS 11   4 comments

Survey asks Alaskans about seceding from the US | KTVA Anchorage CBS 11.

One in three and that was before the courts decided the US Constitution took precedence over the Alaska Constitution for yet another time.

Posted October 14, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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BLM: Worker Was Threatened With Weapon « CBS Las Vegas   Leave a comment

BLM: Worker Was Threatened With Weapon « CBS Las Vegas.

Good for the ranchers for taking back their liberty and kudos to the State of Utah for backing them up, but really, threatening physical violence is not a good way to go. Focus on real issues and get in trouble for doing the right things. Liberty is a worthy reason to be civilly disobedient, but violence makes the argument about violence rather than liberty.

Posted May 8, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Liberty

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Alaska to sue Interior Department for road to reach medical aid – Washington Times   Leave a comment

Alaska to sue Interior Department for road to reach medical aid – Washington Times.

Is Alaska’s Sean Parnell growing a backbone?

The more fights like this Alaska has with the federal government, the more (I hope) that people will come to understand that (hopefully, peaceful) secession is our only option. We can maintain cultural and diplomatic ties with the US, but we need to control our own resources and remove the colonial power from our land.

Nothing is standing in the way of this road, but an arbitrary rule written 2500 miles distant from the people it affects by people whose agenda is to keep Alaska under colonial control until such time that they can authorize the rape our resources for their own benefit rather than ours.

It’s our land! Get out!

Trimming Congressional Authority   Leave a comment

What would you say if an Article V convention proposed an amendment that stripped Congress of its law-making authority?

  • I’ve already said I would be in favor of increasing the number of representatives so that representation would be based on populations of around 50,000 — maybe up to 100,000, but no more than that because Congress can’t effectively represent huge Congressional districts.
  • I’ve already said I would be in favor of term limits for Congress and the Senate.
  • I’ve already said I would be in favor of repeal of the 17th amendment to return control of the Senate to the states.

I would like to see an immediate repeal of all legislative laws in the United States and henceforth, all laws that Congress proposes must be signed off by the legislatures of the states — at least three-quarters of them. Once ratified, they would sunset after 10 years if not resubmitted to the states.

Does that seem drastic? What do you think would be the outcome?

Posted April 8, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Government

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Amendment Restoring Federalism   Leave a comment

The Founders feared concentrated powers and so created a federalist system.  Contrary to modern progressive spin, even the Federalists at the Constitutional Convention were not big government advocates (with the possible exception of Alexander Hamilton). They were federalists in that they believed the states, which formed the union, retained the strong position in the relationship and informed the “federated” government of its duties and obligations. That formulation of power — from states to DC and not the other way around — was the standard for about 80 years. We were not a nation, so much as a federation.

The term “federalism” has been demonized since the Civil War, relabeled “states’ rights” and usually forced to walk lock-step with slavery and the Confederacy. States’ right has been painted as evil and inherently abusive and anyone who questions that mindset is deemed “separatist”, “racist” or “unAmerican.”  The tactic has worked. The word “federalism” invokes passionate emotion in a day when so few Americans have any idea of the history of federalism or even of the Constitution.

Federalism is about states’ rights, yes! But it is also about individual rights. We are all, or could be, closer to our state and local governments than we are to the national government. Our Founders understood this and yet, for about a century, the federal government has increasingly sought to homogenize laws throughout all the states rather than allow for regional variations.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Bond v. United States that “by denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power. When government acts in excess of its lawful powers, that liberty is at stake.”

And yet you need to look no further than the EPA regulations on “clean” air to see that the homogenization of laws throughout all the states violates the liberty of individuals living in Alaska. Ultimately, the federal overreach rests with an interpretation of the Constitution that our founders would not recognize.

The powers “reserved to the states” under the 10th amendment are functionally non-existent if the Constitution’s enumerated powers are infinitely capricious. The 10th amendment doesn’t tell us what powers belong to the states, but its message is clear — the federal government has limited and enumerated powers, the states have all the rest and the states are required to exercise vigilant enforcement to keep the federal government in its place.

Yet, in 1985, a 5-4 court ruled in Garcia v San Antonia Transit Authority that “state sovereign issues — are more properly protected by procedural safeguards inherent in the structure of the federal system than by judicially created limitations on federal power.”

In other words, the judiciary is unwilling to limit federal power so beg Congress to do it.

Does any of us really think Congress will limit the power of the federal bureaucracy? Mark Begich is my senator — he who advocated for a carbon tax that would give ultimate power over commerce.

Article V is the people’s means to force reform where reform is needed. The only other non-violent alternative to strengthening federalism is simply to emigrate to some other country and hope things will be better there. I think that has about as much chance of working out as Mark Begich representing the people of Alaska.

A Truly Federal System   Leave a comment

You know how it is with a new idea!

Increasing the size of the House of Representatives is my new shiny object.

Husband Brad wasn’t convinced that increasing the size of Congress by any amount would really help anything. He was of the opinion that it would create a zoo-like atmosphere. Then I told him about New Hampshire.

Brad hasn’t lived in New Hampshire for a very long time. He’s been an Alaskan for more than half of his life and passed into Pioneer status last summer. But we always have a little bit of loyalty to our home town (or home state).

“Live Free or Die” is New Hampshire’s motto and my own experience in visiting Brad’s family there is that there is a higher-percentage of free-thinking people living there than in nearby states. Why? Logically, you would think that New Hampshiremen would not have substantially different politics than, say, Vermont or Massachusetts, but that isn’t the case. New Hampshire scores high in the freedom indices. Why?

New Hampshire’s 1.2 million citizens are represented by 400 legislators in the lower house of the state legislature. Yes, the entire 300+ million population of America is represented by only 435 representatives.

For comparison’s sake, look at California with a population of 34 million. New Hampshire’s population is about equal to the city of San Deigo (for comparison). California (the largest population state in the union) has 80 legislative districts. If New Hampshire were to follow California’s example, the lower house of the state legislature would have about 30 representatives instead of 400. The average house district in California represents more than 400,000 people, while the average house district in New Hampshire represents only 3,096. Alaska, btw, has 40 representatives in the lower legislative house, representing about 18,000 people in each district.

The organization Thirty Thousand, which advocates for a return to the original structure for representation in Congress, looked at a number of individual liberties and compared states according to population and number of representatives in their state houses. They looked at state fiscal policy, regulatory burden, economics freedoms, and personal liberties for their analysis. They grouped states as least-free, medium-free and most-free based on these indices. Looking at 15 different freedom indices (from three different reports), they found that in every case, the average district size of the least-free states was significantly larger than that of the most-free states. The average district size of the least-free states was 73,136, which was substantially larger than the most-free states at 45,842. That’s a 60% difference.

The most-free states were New Hampshire, Colorado, South Dakota, Idaho and Texas. The least-free states were Maryland, California, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York. Alaska didn’t make it into the most-free states group because of the size of our state government and the regulatory burden mostly coming from our colonial relationship with the federal government.

Brad still thinks 60,000 representatives for the federal government might be too many. I tend to agree in theory. A Congress of that size would need to structure itself along some sort of federated system because there is no way they could all meet in one location at one time.

But think about what it would mean? Here is Alaska, we’d have 15 representatives. Don’t get me wrong. Don Young is a responsive Congressman, but he represents more than 700,000 people. Of course, he can’t represent us all. He’s a riverboat captain and teacher from Ft. Yukon. If he hadn’t been in Congress for four decades, what sort of common ground would he have with a business owner in Anchorage? Shouldn’t Anchorage be represented by someone who understands what living in Anchorage is all about? Shouldn’t Fairbanks or Nome get the same respect? And, when I cast my vote, shouldn’t I have had some opportunity to have met this candidate for something more than a handshake? Wouldn’t I feel better about that vote if I didn’t have to rely on what I can glean from advertisements and a few radio interviews?

And, no! It’s not a magic bullet, but it may well be a step toward a return to individual liberty. At least it is doing something rather than just watching the train wreck.

Battle over military spouse license bill surprises North Pole representative – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Local News   Leave a comment

Battle over military spouse license bill surprises North Pole representative – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Local News.

The Alaska State legislature has encountered an unexpected problem because they are, once again, trying to represent outside of their constituent groups.

Legislators for Alaska’s voting districts are elected to represent Alaskans. Military members are NOT Alaskans. They want to be called Alaskans because if they establish residency here, they get to partake of the annual Permanent Fund Dividend distribution.

The PFD is NOT an entitlement program. It is a dividend off the state’s royalty oil investment account, established as a rainy-day fund for when the oil money runs out (having been the poorest state in the union before oil was discovered in 1969, Alaska wisely thought ahead). The dividend was meant to provide citizen ownership of the fund, so that we would not be so quick to allow the government to spend it when it decided to spend it. That has proven a good thing, since our state government has failed to appropriately collect royalty oil revenues and oil taxes from the petroleum companies and then come to the people asking for a chunk of the Permanent Fund, to which we said “Why don’t you collect the money owed to us for OUR oil, instead?”

When the PFD (the distribution) was devised, it was designed for permanent Alaskan residents only. In fact, you got more money the longer you had lived here. Then some lawyers in Anchorage who had lived here only a couple of years sued and a federal court said we had to give the PFD to all current residents of the state on an equal basis. I personally know people who moved here just for the PFD.

One provision of the PFD is that you have to plan on remaining in the state of Alaska. You don’t actually have to do it. You just have to be planning to do it. You must also be a legal resident, which means you must get an Alaskan drivers license or register to vote in Alaska.

Many military members and their dependents maintain their residency in their state of origin. Which is fine with me, by the way — just so long as you don’t expect to benefit from the state you are manifestly refusing to be a resident of. In most states, that’s not a problem, but in Alaska, it assuredly is a problem with a $1000 to $2000 per person annual price tag. It’s estimated that our PFDs would be about 30% higher if the military and their dependents (non-residents all) were not eligible to receive them — and that’s not counting the many thousands of military members and dependents who claim they are planning to return to Alaska after their enlistment. That claim allows them to receive a PFD for several years after they leave Alaska.

Military members have, for more than a decade, been allowed to keep their drivers’ license from another state without it disqualifying them from the PFD, but their spouses have had no such protection. Now the Legislature wants to extend that benefit to spouses.

I’m OPPOSED to it. First, given the number of accidents involving military personnel and their dependents in the early winter every year, I believe most of them would benefit from having to take both the written and road test, which they currently take neither. Second, there’s the PFD. They shouldn’t be eligible for it at all since none of them are planning to remain in Alaska, but if they can’t be bothered to spend $15 to change their drivers license to Alaska, they clearly are not planning to remain here.

The third reason is my own unique view of the primary issue in this battle. The Alaska State Constitution defines a marriage as between a man and a woman. That was a constitutional amendment that passed a citizens vote by a LARGE margin. We have that right as Alaskans and as Americans to make those sorts of choices.

However, some legislators (who are in the minority) would like to end run the people and change the de facto definition to include same-sex partners. This is where I’m going to go out of the box.

It is estimated that approximately 1/3 of all domestic partnerships in Alaska are outside of marriage. We’re a pretty heterosexual state, but we tend to live together rather than get married. For the record I know anarchists who have had a church wedding, but never filed a permit with the State, so they technically are unmarried.

Why should benefits of any sort be extended to the domestic partners of gay soldiers when those same benefits have not and will not be extended to the domestic partners of heterosexual Alaskans? Let’s be honest about this. Homosexuals are asking for a special status that is not extended to anyone else. This is pretty common. If you work for the State of Alaska, and you’re gay, your domestic partner is eligible for “spousal” health benefits. If you’re heterosexual, however, your partner is not covered.

Why? And why shouldn’t we object to such a clear display of discrimination?

Posted February 20, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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