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REPORT FROM JUNEAU: WEEK 2

Senator Loren Leman
Anchorage, AK
January 25, 2002

PASSING THE TORCH:

For the first time in history the Olympic flame came to Alaska Thursday, and I enjoyed participating in the festivities, including watching the procession on its way to Salt Lake City. The torch was carried past the Capitol by Mike Miller, a Juneau swimming coach who is courageously fighting to recover from cancer. I applaud the 11 Alaskans on the U.S. Olympic team who will represent our State next month.

ANWR GETS SUPPORT:

The House and Senate acted this week on one of the most important elements of our long-term fiscal plan—continued support for developing ANWR. The legislation passed by the House provides $1 million to the non-profit organization Arctic Power, a citizen-based group with broad membership in Alaska, for continued work, primarily with the U.S. Senate, and $100,000 to the City of Kaktovik, a Native community inside ANWR, for public and media education support. The Senate Finance Committee reported this bill Wednesday—and I recommended “Do Pass.” The Senate will vote on the bill early next week.

THIS BOND IS UP:

One of my priorities is strengthening the parent-child bond and one of the most important areas for parental involvement is medical decisions, including abortion. Alaska’s 32-year-old parental consent law has not been enforced for much of its life because it did not have a “judicial bypass,” a process in which a judge, under certain circumstances, could provide this permission. The Legislature provided this judicial bypass in 1997, but abortion providers challenged the law in court. Recently the Alaska Supreme Court rebuked Judge Sen Tan, who ruled against the State without even holding an evidentiary hearing. The high Court ordered a hearing, which is now scheduled for January 2003. On Tuesday I spoke at the Rally for Life on the steps of the Capitol about this legislation. I was encouraged by the participation of many of my colleagues and by the 4th and 5th grade students who sang for the gathering.

A SENATORIAL ADDRESS:

Senator Ted Stevens was in Juneau Tuesday for his annual address to the Legislature. He spoke about issues important to Alaskans, including defense of our country, rising costs of health care, accountability in education, our resource future and economic challenges facing the fishing industry.

THE MAYOR PAYS A CALL:

Anchorage Mayor George Wuerch and Municipal Light & Power General Manager Mike Scott visited me on Wednesday. We talked about Anchorage Port expansion and Railbelt energy improvements.

HOMETOWN HEARING:

The Anchorage Caucus, composed of legislators from Anchorage, will hold a public hearing Feb. 23 from 10 am to noon at the Loussac Library. I encourage you to attend this forum.


If you would like to receive my weekly report by email, please contact me at Senator_Loren_Leman@legis.state.ak.us or 465-2095.

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