Rep. Ben Carpenter
Alaska House of Representatives, District 8

October Newsletter/Start of Fourth Special Session

Alaskans, your legislature gaveled into it’s FOURTH special session yesterday. Governor Dunleavy’s proclamation can be found here. I supported the House majority’s waiver of our rules requiring a floor session every third day and instead passed a resolution requiring a meeting by October 12. This action is intended to save money and provide opportunity for committee meetings to be held on the road network. It will require committee chairpersons to act when heretofore they have mostly paid lip-service to addressing our PFD dilemma or fixing our structural deficit. The resolution must still be passed by the Senate to become effective. Until that happens, we must meet every three days and our next floor session is scheduled for October 8th. Time will tell if committees meet and do the necessary work which is why I supported amending the next meeting date to October 12. If our committees continue to obfuscate, then we need to re-assess our need for a fourth special session, sooner rather than later. Next Tuesday we should have a good feel of whether we are wasting time, or not.

While I hold out hope that legislators can deal with the PFD issue and our structural deficit, I am aware that many Alaskans have a much more immediate need on their minds.

For many people, ordinary uncertainty about the future has been replaced with precariousness.

Throughout 2020, perceived danger lurked behind every sneeze and cough, every personal interaction was fraught with risk of illness.  For some people, the danger of dying from Covid-19 was mitigated by government response: vaccination. Some people trusted in government to make them safe.

There was real danger for some, but most people were never in real danger.

As 2021 draws to a close, a more tangible danger of being made unemployable by government action is creeping into people’s awareness. Not just unemployed, unemployable. American’s risk losing their ability to support themselves and their families if they don’t choose a Covid-19 vaccination, a choice that should remain in the family and between the patient and their doctor. Citizens are being forced to put their trust in government or be ostracized from society, and the government has engaged private business as enforcer.

The Covid-19 vaccinated people, along with the full weight and might of the United States federal government, dare to force vaccination on Americans who choose to place their trust elsewhere. This action doesn’t make Covid-19 vaccinated people safer. The number of people choosing to forgo vaccination isn’t a small number: it’s more than half our population.

Precariousness exists for employers as well. Many Alaskans will refuse to be vaccinated and may have their employment terminated by employers with few alternatives. Alaskan businesses are already suffering from a smaller than normal labor pool, largely because of choices government officials made to mitigate Covid-19 spread. An increasingly smaller labor pool will undoubtedly cause delay, interruptions, and instability in our businesses.

We are rapidly approaching the point where the government cure is worse than the disease. Therefore, I have requested that Governor Dunleavy add to his fourth special session proclamation the creation of a patient bill of rights so that the legislature may act immediately to prevent Alaskans from having to choose between Covid-19 vaccination and remaining employable. You can watch my floor speech here.

Achieving a patients bill of rights will require an outcry from Alaskans because there aren’t currently enough votes in the legislature to pass one with protections from mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations.

On a separate but related topic, today is municipal election day. Maintaining our liberty begins at the local level by electing liberty-minded Alaskans. This election is at risk of being ignored by many because there aren’t big names, lots of money and advertising associated with it. But the opportunity exists to shape our borough assembly and school board with liberty-minded people. It’s up to us to get out to the polls.
Find information on municipal elections here!

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