Leg with Louie: House Operating Budget brought to you by Rep. David Eastman

Anyone still doubting the wisdom of Rep. Gary Knopp for not caucusing solely with the Republicans in our State House, should look no further than the antics of Rep. David Eastman, both before and during House floor debate on the operating budget. Recall, Rep. Knopp would not settle to join a majority with a single vote margin of control because it would be too weak of a majority and it would fall apart. So he held out, to the obvious dismay of the hard right in his central peninsula district – a significant voting bloc – and instead helped form a 24-member coalition including Republicans, Democrats, Independent and an Undeclared.

All along it has clearly and obviously been the Rep. Eastman factor that caused an all Republican majority to not coalesce.  

He could never, in any universe, be counted on as a 21st vote that holds a caucus together. Remember, it was Eastman who in May 2017 was the first Representative to ever be censured by the full House due to his racist comments that called into question the character of women from rural Alaska.

He also suffered an ethics violation in 2018 for publicly disclosing the existence of a confidential matter before the state ethics committee. And he recently voted on the House floor, on live TV, against honoring a deceased and highly regarded former Alaska Legislative Staff member after a series of emotional eulogies from House members and with the family of the deceased in the gallery. This move showed an unhinged lack of decorum which seems to be becoming his standard.

During floor debate on the House version of the Operating Budget last week, Rep. Eastman created a political theater (as is the prerogative of the minority party) through a series of go-nowhere amendments.He offered and spoke at length to so many intent language amendments to the budget, designed to instruct state departments how to do things – all of which failed – that the Speaker had to rule further such amendments out of order on account of wasting people’s time.   

The Republicans should know he is the main reason that they are not in power in the House today.  

I wish here to personally thank Representative Eastman for being the main force causing the 25 member coalition majority to form, instead of a 21 member all Republican majority which might have pushed a budget much more closely aligned with the Governor’s $1.6 billion reductions. The House Majority operating budget contains moderate reductions – approximately $200 million under last year’s budget – which provide a good starting point for negotiations with the Senate and the Governor.

Thank you,

Louie Flora
Government Affairs Director

It’s a bad budget

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Hearings to watch

HOUSE RESOURCES Apr 15 Monday 1:00 PM HB 122 FUNTER BAY MARINE PARK: UNANGAN CEMETERY
— Public Testimony

Presentation: Oil & Gas Industry Taxes by
– Colleen Glover, Tax Director, Dept. of Revenue
– Dan Stickel, Chief Revenue Economist, Dept. of
Revenue
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

HOUSE FINANCE Apr 15 Monday 1:30 PM HB 32 AK ENERGY EFFICIENCY LOANS: ELIGIBILITY
— Public Testimony —

SENATE RESOURCES Apr 15 Monday 3:30 PM
SB 91 NUYAKUK RIVER: HYDROELECTRIC SITE
— Public Testimony —

HOUSE FISHERIES Apr 15 Monday 6:30 PM
Joint with House RESOURCES
Consideration of Governor’s Appointees: Board of Fisheries
— Public Testimony —

HOUSE FISHERIES Apr 16 Tuesday 10:00 AM
HB 116 AQUATIC FARM/HATCHERY SITE LEASES
HR 8 2019: INT’L YEAR OF THE SALMON
— Public Testimony —

HOUSE ENERGY Apr 16 Tuesday 11:00 AM
— Time Change —
+ Presentation: All Alaska Energy Project by Meera Kohler Alaska Village Electric Cooperative

JOINT SESSION Apr 17 Wednesday 11:30 AM HOUSE CHAMBER
Consideration of the Governor’s Appointees

HOUSE RESOURCES Apr 17 Wednesday 1:00 PM
HB 122 FUNTER BAY MARINE PARK: UNANGAN CEMETERY
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

HOUSE FINANCE Apr 17 Wednesday 1:30 PM HB 38 APPROP: CAPITAL BUDGET
Deferred Maintenance Update
HB 32 AK ENERGY EFFICIENCY LOANS: ELIGIBILITY

HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS Apr 18 Thursday 3:00 PM
HB 115 ABSENTEE VOTING
— Public Testimony —

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