As the foremost ministry in our state centered on pro-family issues, Alaska Family Action gets pulled and pushed in a lot of different directions - especially during election cycles.
With prayer, sound leadership from an outstanding Board of Directors and partnerships with like-minded citizens like you, we're doing our best to remainFOCUSED on action items that will have the most impact in terms of changing our culture here in Alaska for the better.
Here's a quick summary of five ministry projects we're launching between now and the General Election on November 4th -
Coalition for Alaska's Future - Working with national leaders in the political strategy arena, we're taking the lead on an effort called the Coalition for Alaska's Future to build a significant social media community to educate, motivate and turn out more conservative-minded citizens for the upcoming elections. We'll keep everyone updated as this exciting project nears fruition.
Social Issues Debate - Hosting a Social Issues Debate between the three U.S. Senate candidates in the Republican Primary. Date and location should be finalized soon.
Values Voter Guide - Developing and distributing a comprehensive candidate Values Voter Guide (website and print version) to provide pro-family Alaskans with information they need to make informed decisions.
Candidate Support – every election year, groups like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and other radical anti-family groups help candidates get to Juneau with the sole purpose of advancing their agenda and thwarting groups like us. This year, we'll be identifying several legislative races we believe our involvement will have a substantial positive impact on. Voters need to clearly be able to identify those candidates who will best represent and fight for their values. The State Legislature is Republican controlled but far from being a friendly place to pass significant pro-family legislation. We can do better.
Voter Registration – Some national research shows as many as 30,000 pro-family voters in Alaska are NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE. This is a staggering reality that provides a great opportunity. Through church-based Citizenship Sunday campaigns, our plan is to bring more values voters to the polls.
This is a lot on our plate but it is why we exist. To bring Salt and Light into the public marketplace and political arena in a way that transforms our culture and glorifies God. What an awesome responsibility and privilege !
In order to keep our focus on these five important projects, we're seeking to add 25 more monthly donors to our ministry budget.
Would you prayerfully consider locking arms with us in this way ? Click here to do so now !
Every Alaskan who does so provides us with incredibly important financial stability and allows us to focus much more on transforming our culture rather than overhead.
Your partnership is what holds us together and gives us the fuel to move forward. Especially during the slower summer, monthly donors are a significant blessing in helping us to stay on task. If you already give monthly, please consider a one-time, on-line summer gift toward our five ministry projects. If you can only make a one-time gift today, please know how much we would appreciate it.
During the coming political weeks and months, there will be much ado about who the most "conservative" candidates are and why. There will be those who rarely act it but wear it proud and loud during election cycles. There will be others who cling to it without really even understanding it or who want to completely refashion it for their likes. In this article, the author takes a stab at what he calls Family First Conservatism and from my vantage point, he nails it. Enjoy his words.
Family-First Conservatism: A Tentative Manifesto
By Joe Carter - June 11th - Canon and Culture
What does it mean to be a conservative? No one seems to be able to agree on what the term conservatism means anymore, which is why in modern America there are almost as many brands of conservatism as there are conservatives. There are neo-cons and paleo-cons, theo-cons and crunchy cons. There are social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, conservatives who aim for National Greatness and others who strive to be Compassionate. There are brands of conservatism that are oxymoronic (progressive conservatives) and some that are simply subversive (e.g., those who attempt to claim same-sex marriage is compatible with conservatism).
Unless you are already familiar with the political taxonomy, such labels aren’t particularly useful. To truly understand what a conservative believes, it is often more instructive to simply ask what it is they want to conserve.
My own answer to that question would be the one proffered by my intellectual hero, the late, great Russell Kirk: The institution most essential to conserve is the family.
I believe that while ultimate sovereignty belongs to God alone, he delegates authority throughout society to various institutional structures (churches, businesses, the state, etc.). Naturally, these institutions are not immune to the effects of sin or human depravity, but they still retain the legitimate authority given to them by our Creator. Although each of these institutions is important, the most essential and primary is the family.
My political philosophy could be called “family-first conservatism” for I believe in our current period within Western history, the institution of the family should be given pride of place in decisions about public policy and the creation of social norms.
While family-first conservatism is rather limited in scope—merely an emphasis within conservatism rather than a distinct branch—I believe it is robust enough to generate a core set of principles and policy prescriptions. In a future article I’ll outline what those policy prescriptions should entail. For now, here are the core principles, which I have gleaned from the writings of better thinkers than myself, and which I believe could serve as a tentative manifesto of family-first conservatism: CLICK HERE FOR REST OF STORY
With the LGBT Q&A Townhalls behind us - a little reflection.
Thanks to everyone for participating including our speakers shown here with my wife Kim and I - Andrew Walker with ERLC, Melinda Selmys, Jeff Johnston with Focus on the Family and Peter Hubbard with Love Into Light. I was humbled to hear from many, those who share our view and those who do not, that the conversation was productive and that hearts were touched.
This issue is complicated and yet it boils down to a very important truth - we are all fallen and in need of redemption. God is relentless in pursuing an intimate relationship with each of us.
To the pastors who were able to attend and are interested in establishing outreach programs to the LGBTQ community, please do not hesitate to contact me and we'll get you dialed in to some fantastic resources available. A great place to start would be to visit the Love Into Light website and prayerfully consider implementing some of the strategies laid out.
For pastors who were unable to attend, the same advice applies. Each of your churches are scattered with families who are touched by this issue in very personal ways. Equip your flocks with the language and compassion to engage a culture that is seeking clarity on the issue of homosexuality. Help them to be the salt and light they are called to be and pray for opportunities that will stretch you in this area. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN ALASKA
Yesterday, a group of same-sex couples filed a lawsuit challenging Alaska's Constitutional marriage amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
As we were one of only a handful of states that had not yet had a lawsuit filed, this comes as no surprise. Fortunately, our Attorney General, Michael Geraghty, has stated that he will uphold his oath-of-office and vigorously defend our marriage amendment.
We pray his team will have the wisdom and fortitude to put forth the absolute best legal strategy to protect what the people of Alaska overwhelmingly voted on in 1998. At the same time, we are well aware that this will more than likely be upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most liberal courts in the country and for that reason, we all should place our ultimate trust in something much more permanent than any legal decision - absolute Truth.
In Virginia, a state whose marriage amendment is also being legally challenged but whose Attorney General has refused to defend it, voices of reason are resonating across the country. The Catholic Archbishops recently released a statement saying that -
"Virginia’s interest in marriage is based in the Commonwealth’s foresight that changing the legal definition of marriage would unavoidably change the way Virginia’s citizens view marriage and make the Commonwealth’s marriage laws adult-focused rather than child-focused. If the message and function of marriage is changed in concept, the cultural significance attached to marriage will also change.
. . . male-female marriage serve governmental interests that are not just legitimate, but compelling, namely, encouraging the procreation and rearing of children by the very people responsible for begetting them, in the stable environment of the marital family. The simple fact is that moms and dads are different, not interchangeable, and having both a mom and dad is an ideal parenting environment."
They go on to say that " We affirm the intrinsic dignity of all people. … We also seek to preserve the one institution that was designed to protect children and the family: marriage, rooted in natural law as the union of one man and one woman. Marriage has an original, unalterable design that existed before any religion or government. No religion, government, or court should re-design it."
We would add that in fact marriage cannot be re-designed. "The 'right side of history' on marriage is a history that begins with one man and one woman in a garden and ends with the wedding supper of the Lamb. That is the historical view that all Christian discussions of marriage must proceed from."
Let us each prayerfully seek to engage the culture of our day with grace and truth with this quote in mind from Jonathon Edwards, arguably the greatest theologian this continent has ever produced - “Resolved. To act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others.”
I need your help. Would you be willing to help us fill the seats for two Townhall forums on May 9th and 10th ?
We're bringing up four great speakers to help us discuss how the Body of Christ can gracefully and powerfully engage a culture that has embraced homosexuality.
This is a monumental time in the history of Christianity to be the Salt and Light each of us our called to be. So much of our culture is confused about sexuality right now. Even people who confess the name of Christ as their Lord are wondering if Scripture can be relied upon regarding this contemporary issue of our time. We need the language and confidence to stand strong with grace. These events are designed with that in mind.
Here's six quick ways you can help us -
- REGISTER now yourself. It's free. Click HERE.
- Forward this e-mail right now to friends and family you think might be interested.
- Volunteer - e-mail me at [email protected] if you can help pass out posters, assist with registration, etc. We have several opportunities to help out
- Ask staff at your church if they would be willing to let you put an announcement in the bulletin or place a poster up. We need youth pastors to get fired up about this too so any help you can provide at your church would be greatly appreciated.
- Share this with your friends on Facebook. Tweet this out if you tweet.
- Pray that we will be efficient and effective the next two weeks in preparing for and promoting these Townhalls and that the Body of Christ would be moved to attend in great numbers.
Thanks for linking arms with us. We are privileged to have you as an ally.
This piece written recently for DesiringGod, one of my go-to sources of wisdom, hits it out of the park. We are living in a wonderful time to reflect the light of the Son. Nothing more than your average moon rock.
Why Homosexuality is Not Like Other Sins
By Jonathan Parnell
Homosexuality is not the only sin mentioned in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
It’s not the only sin mentioned, but it is different from all the rest, at least right now. At this moment in history, contrary to the other sins listed here, homosexuality is celebrated by our larger society with pioneering excitement. It’s seen as a good thing, as the new hallmark of progress.
To be sure, the masses increasingly make no bones about sin in general. Innumerable people are idolaters, not to mention those who are sexually immoral, or who commit adultery, or who steal and are greedy and get wasted and revile neighbors and swindle others. It happens all the time. And each of these unrepentant sins are the same in the sense of God’s judgment. They all deserve his wrath. And we’re constantly reminded that “such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Concerning Popular Opinion
But as far as I know, none of those sins are applauded so aggressively by whole groups of people who advocate for their normalcy. Sexual immorality is no longer the tip of the spear for the progressive push. Adultery is still frowned upon by many. Accusations of greed will still smear a candidate’s political campaign. Thievery is still not openly embraced, and there are no official initiatives saying it’s okay to go steal things that don’t belong to you. There’s no such thing as a drunk agenda yet. Most aren’t proud to choose a beverage over stability, and there aren’t any petitions that the government should abolish the driving restrictions of inebriated individuals. Reviling others still isn’t seen as the best way to win friends and influence people. Swindling, especially on a corporate level, usually gets someone thrown into jail. In fact, the infrastructure of the American economy depends upon, in some measure, our shared disdain for conniving scammers.
Perhaps excepting fornication, these sins are still seen in a pretty negative light. But not homosexual practice, not by those who are now speaking loudest and holding positions of prominence. According to the emerging consensus, homosexuality is different.
What to Be Against
As Christians, we believe with deepest sincerity that the embrace of homosexual practice, along with other sins, keeps people out of the kingdom of God. And if our society celebrates it, we can’t both be caring and not say anything. Too much is at stake. This means it is an oversimplification to say that Christians — or conservative evangelicals — are simply against homosexuality. We are against any sin that restrains people from everlasting joy in God, and homosexual practice just gets all the press because, at this cultural moment, it’s the main sin that is so freshly endorsed in our context by the powers that be. Let’s hope that if there’s some new cultural agenda promoting thievery — one that says it’s now our right to take whatever we want from others by whatever means — that Christians will speak out against it. The issue is sin. That’s what we’re against. And that’s what should make our voice so unique when we speak into this debate.
Some would like to see this whole issue of homosexuality divided into two camps: those who celebrate it and those who hate it. Both of these groups exist in our society. There are the growing numbers, under great societal pressure, who praise homosexuality. We might call them the left. And there are people who hate homosexuality, with the most bigoted rationale and apart from any Christian concern. We might call them the right.
Those Glorious Words
The current debate is plagued by this binary lens. Those on the left try to lump everyone who disagrees with them into that right side. If you don’t support, you hate. Meanwhile, those on the right see compromise and spinelessness in anyone who doesn’t get red-faced and militant. If you don’t hate, you support.
But true followers of Christ will walk neither path. We have something to say that no one else is saying, or can say.
Distancing ourselves from both the left and the right, we don’t celebrate homosexual practice, we acknowledge God’s clear revealed word that it is sin; and we don’t hate those who embrace homosexuality, we love them enough to not just collapse under the societal pressure. We speak the truth in love into this confusion, saying, simultaneously, “That’s wrong” and “I love you.” We’re not the left; we say, this is wrong. And we’re not the right; we say, you’re loved. We speak good news, with those sweetest, deepest, most glorious words of the cross — the same words that God spoke us — “You’re wrong, and you’re loved.”
God tells us we’re wrong, that the wages of sin is death, that unrepentant rebellion means judgment, that our rescue required the cursed death of his Son (Romans 3:23; John 3:36; Galatians 3:13). And God tells us we’re loved, that even while we were sinners, Jesus died for us, that while we were unrighteous, Jesus suffered in our place, that though we were destined for wrath, Jesus welcomes us into glory (Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:1–7).
Where the Gospel Shines
You’re wrong and you’re loved — that’s the unique voice of the Christian. That’s what we say, speaking from our own experience, as Tim Keller so well puts it, “we’re far worse than we ever imagined, and far more loved than we could ever dream.”
That’s our message in this debate, when society’s elites despise us, when pop songs vilify us, when no one else has the resources to say anything outside of two extremes, we have this incomparable opportunity to let the gospel shine, to reach out in grace: you’re wrong and you’re loved. We get to say this.
That’s why homosexuality is not like other sins.
As you might know, Federal judges across the country have been ruling against state marriage amendments in great number. The fact that most Americans still believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage, that President Obama as well as most liberal politicians only a few years ago supported this objective truth is lost on judge after judge after judge.
Animus and bigotry, in the eyes of the elite judiciary, is all that is and was behind every effort to protect, define and privilege the foundational building block of future generations.
Despite even some in the clergy turning aside from the Truth, marriage cannot change. As Paul said to Timothy, " the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers." 2 Timothy 4:3
May each of us seek to address this issue with more clarity, compassion and confidence.
Alaska Should Accept Gay Marriage as a Self-Evident Human Right
By Senator Hollis French (D) Anchorage
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These simple words, found in the Declaration of Independence, helped forge the ideals embedded in the United States Constitution -- a constitution that is the envy of the free world. Why? Because it stands as the finest example of humanity's commitment to freedom and equality.
To be truly free and equal we must, as our founders described, be free to pursue our own vision of happiness. In the spirit of these ideals, this session I introduced Senate Joint Resolution 30. SJR 30 seeks to remove a provision of the Alaska constitution that prevents a large number of Alaskans from pursuing their own happiness; for what is more central to happiness than love and family?
SJR 30 gives voters an opportunity to erase Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage.
A string of court decisions, most from conservative-leaning states, have led many to conclude that whether or not Alaska acts on its own, judicial intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court is imminent. Courts in Utah, Virginia, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan and Oklahoma have overturned state bans on same-sex marriage using the legal rationales of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
These decisions are worthy of a closer look. Most remarkable is the uniformity of result. Six judges in six different states have looked at the law and come to the same conclusion. This is strong evidence that Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage will also be struck down when the time comes.
Alaska Should Uphold Traditional Marriage as a Self Evident, God-Given Truth
By Jim Minnery - Alaska Family Action
"We hold these truths to be self-evident." That line made sense to people at a time in history. It no longer resonates as clearly to many in this generation. Even the most basic presuppositions are up for grabs.
What is truth? What is a man? Woman? Life? Marriage?
Some have said homosexual marriage is an "irresistible force paradox" which is what happens when an unstoppable power meets an immovable object. The paradox arises because it rests on two premises that cannot both be true at once.
C.S. Lewis said that just as a lock and key are one mechanism and a violin and bow are one musical instrument, "the inventor of the human machine" tells us its two halves, male and female, were made to be combined in pairs.
The creation of man and woman, and their one-flesh union as husband and wife, is the crowning achievement of God's creation. Marriage was the first institution God created -- before civil government and even before the Church itself.
Paul, writing to the Ephesians, said that the "mystery is great" regarding the picture God presents of man/woman unification representing His ultimate purpose for creation. At the same time, we see with clarity that the attributes of man or woman alone couldn't fully explain the imago Dei, "image of God," imprinted on each of us. The true, full image of our Creator is expressed only when the two halves of humanity complement each other and become one.
How does this religious understanding of marriage relate to a secularized nation and the deep desire of same-sex couples to be given "equal justice" and access to an institution that pre-dates politics, church and culture? Are there non-spiritual reasons for defending marriage as a union between one man and one woman?
Just a few weeks before prominent evangelical leader and Special Counsel to President Nixon Chuck Colson died, he personally appointed Eric Teestel to head up a project Colson had drafted as a declaration that soon became a national movement - theManhattan Declaration.
Teetsel, along with three other national speakers we'll highlight in coming weeks here, will be joining me for two Townhall discussions on Christian engagement with the LGBTQ community taking place on Friday, May 9th and Saturday, May 10th.
With limited seats available at our locations in Anchorage at East High School Auditorium and in Palmer at Colony High School Auditorium, seating is limited and is starting to fill up so please register early. Click HERE to do that now.
We're calling the Townhalls - Loving My Gay Neighbor-LGBT Q&A "What is the Christian response to the emerging sexual revolution?" Our prayer for the events is that believers will walk away with more clarity, compassion, confidence and Christ-centered hearts as they engage others who either are struggling with same-sex attraction or have a difference of opinion on the issue.
Frank Bruni, an extremely influential and openly gay New York Time writer has noted that "In an astonishingly brief period of time, this country has experienced a seismic shift in opinion — a profound social and political revolution — when it comes to gay and lesbian people."
What does that mean for the Body of Christ in terms of challenges and, more importantly, Gospel opportunities ? That is the modus operandi for these two Townhalls.
ERIC TEETSEL - Eric is executive director of the Manhattan Declaration, a “call of Christian conscience” on life, marriage, and religious liberty founded by Charles W. Colson in 2009 and signed by hundreds of prominent Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical leaders and over 540,000 others. Eric was personally offered the position of executive director by Chuck Colson just three weeks before he died. Eric is responsible for ensuring that the movement continues to inform the public debate over life, marriage, and religious freedom and serves the broader coalition of organizations working on these fundamental issues.
The proud son of a career Army officer, Eric moved numerous times as a child, including seven years in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. He attended Wheaton College, graduating with a degree in Interpersonal Communication in 2006. After earning a Masters of Education in College Student Affairs from Azusa Pacific University, he joined the staff of Colorado Christian University as a Life Directions Advisor.
After two years, the opportunity to construct an innovative program at the American Enterprise Institute presented itself and Eric moved to Washington, D.C. Working for Arthur Brooks and Henry Olsen, Eric built the Values & Capitalism project, aimed at educating evangelical college students about the moral and material nature of the free enterprise system.
In 2011, Eric married the love of his life, Abby, a high school math teacher in Southeast D.C. and the daughter of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Together with their dog, the couple lives on Capitol Hill, where they can often be found eating frozen yogurt and rooting for the Nationals.
Final debate on SB 49 – Contact your House members now!
Only one week remains in the legislative session. The House is still continuing its deliberations on SB 49 – the bill to eliminate taxpayer funding of elective abortions.
The bill was debated on the House floor on Thursday. Our allies in the Legislature had to fend off several amendments that would have weakened or even gutted the bill. Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage) deserves our gratitude for cogently making the arguments against these harmful revisions.
Thankfully, all the hostile amendments were voted down – though only by the slimmest of margins. We’ll have more to say about that later.
With the amendment battles now in the rear-view mirror, the House is scheduled to have its last debate on SB 49, and will vote on final passage tomorrow -- Sunday, April 13. Palm Sunday.
TAKE ACTION NOW: Even if you’ve already contacted your House member before on this issue – please do so again now! Click here for their contact information. At this late date, phone calls directly to your representative’s Juneau office are most effective.
Be polite but firm: tell your legislator it’s time to stop the outrageous Medicaid fraud where public funds are being used to pay for abortions that are NOT medically necessary. A “yes” vote on SB 49 will help put an end to this scandal that has been dragging on for decades in Alaska.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this issue. Victory is within grasp, but we need your help to push this bill across the finish line.
Many weddings use 1 Corinthians 13 starting with verse 4 to define what love is. It is a wonderfully complete definition. The first three verses of Paul's letter though speak volumes as we react and respond to the current culture that has embraced homosexuality and gay marriage.
" If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."
When you have 10 minutes, I highly recommend looking at this video by John Stonestreet of BreakPoint Ministries who provides a clear call for how and why Christians should respond to one of the defining cultural issues of our time. Pray about how God can use you to be salt and light to those in your circle of influence. Be grateful for God's gift of marriage and sexuality. Join us for one of the following townhall gatherings below to equip each of us more fully with a Biblical worldview on why we must stand in the gap.
Four Speakers. Two Events. One Issue.
"Every single human being who has reached puberty has to deal with some kind of sexual temptation. For some, that profile of temptation is homosexual; for others it is heterosexual. The key issue for both is what God commands concerning our stewardship of sexuality and the gift of sex." Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who wrote those words also said that "we speak about homosexuality because we speak on the basis of divinely revealed truth. Our own ideas and conceptions of homosexuality are not authoritative. Our duty is to understand the mind and intention of God."
How can Christians responsibly and gracefully engage a culture that has embraced homosexuality ? What are the church's gospel responsibilities and opportunities with respect to a cultural phenomenon that can no longer be ignored ?
Please join us for two town hall-style events that will give us the Biblical grammar to shape our speech and hearts in order to speak the Truth with love regarding this latest sexual revolution.
- Friday, May 9th - Anchorage - East Anchorage High School Auditorium - 6:30pm-9:30pm
- Saturday, May 10th - Palmer - Colony High School Auditorium - 10am-1pm
We'll be joined by four thoughtful voices who will help us dive deeper into this issue in a manner that prayerfully will draw us and others closer to the Cross.
Jeff Johnston - Gender Issues Analyst - Focus on the Family
Our intent and prayer is to bring the Body of Christ together in a manner that provides light, grace and truth to one of the most compelling and dominant cultural issues of our time. Register now for this free town hall gathering. Seats will fill up fast.
Tell your Senator to Support Judicial Reform
SJR 21 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would bring more public accountability to the Alaska Judicial Council, the powerful and secretive group that largely controls who gets to serve in the judicial branch of state government.
CONTACT YOUR SENATOR NOW: SJR 21 has been approved by two Senate committees (Judiciary and Finance) and the full Senate can bring the issue up for a vote at any time. Click here to contact your Senator and ask them to vote YES on SJR 21.
Remember, SJR 21 is a proposed constitutional amendment – so the Legislature does NOT have the final say. This measure would appear on an election ballot for ALL Alaska voters to approve or reject. When you contact your Senators, remind them that the Constitution belongs to the people (Article I, Section 2). Be polite but firm: tell them you want the chance to vote on reforming the way we select judges.
What would SJR 21 do?
As originally introduced, SJR 21 would add three more public members to the Alaska Judicial Council. This might seem like a rather mundane change – yet it would fundamentally transform the Council from a panel dominated by legal elites into a panel dominated by non-attorney citizens.
Recently one of the current public members of the Judicial Council, Dave Parker, wrote an editorial along with former Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman, explaining how SJR 21 would benefit Alaska and the process by which we select judges. Click here to read their editorial, published in the Anchorage Daily News.
On Monday of this week, the Senate Finance Committee passed a revised version of SJR 21 – making it even better. The new version still adds three new public members to the Council. But in addition, it also requires the three attorney members of the Council – chosen by the Alaska Bar Association – to stand for Legislative confirmation, where their appointment can either be ratified or rejected. In other words, the lawyers who control one of our three branches of government will actually have to be confirmed by the people’s elected representatives. What a novel concept!
Senator Pete Kelly, the sponsor of SJR 21, pointed out in committee that Legislative confirmation is required for dozens of boards and commissions in state government – from the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers, to the Real Estate Commission. Yet incredibly, under the current system, the attorney members of the panel that controls the entire judicial branch of government are not accountable to any elected official. They aren’t appointed by the Governor, and they aren’t confirmed by the Legislature. This creates a dangerous disconnect from the very citizens that the court system is supposed to be serving, and to whom they are supposed to be accountable.
Remember that a proposed constitutional amendment must be approved by a two-thirds supermajority in each house of the Legislature, before it can be placed before the voters for their consideration. In the Senate, that means 14 out of 20 members must approve SJR 21. The vote will likely be very close – so it’s especially urgent that members of the Senate hear from their constituents now. Please contact your Senator today. CLICK HERE, type in your address and the yellow button link will show you who your Alaska State Senator is.
As always, your voice matter and makes a big difference.