Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Bill signing ceremony

House Bill 53 - The Family Rights Act

This legislation goes a long way to protect and preserve families in Alaska and make government accountable for its actions when children are in State custody. HB 53 gives preference for placement of children with relatives. In the past family members were forced to prove they were suitable alternatives for adoption. Now the state must prove the family members are not suitable alternatives. One of the most significant changes is that the Child in Need of Aid (CINA) process is now transparent.

This event is the culmination of over a year's work by many lawmakers to ensure that Alaska's families are protected and show that the government is committed to providing the best possible services to Alaska's children and doing its part to preserve Alaskan families.

The governor issued a press release on this legislation you can view it here:

Governor Murkowski also signed HB 91 a bill which Debbie Joslin from Delta brought to my attention. She is pictured above with Governor Murkowski on the left and Lt. Garrett of the Alaska State Troopers on the right. HB 91 makes repeat convictions of indecent exposure within the observation of a person under the age of sixteen a felony.

Repeated offenses of indecent exposure carried no greater penalty no matter how many times an individual was convicted. Our children must be protected, and there needs to be severe consequences for repeat offenders.

Dr. Dave Eichler (pictured above) was instrumental in bringing HB 181 to my attention. HB 181 was introduced to eliminate the possibility of a professional licensee losing his or her license, while serving on active duty, because of a failure to fulfill statutory requirements for continuing education.

Many professional license holders are full-time active duty military, or members of reserve or auxiliary components of the armed forces. Oftentimes the men and women serving our country no longer have access to the classes or material necessary to fulfill the educational requirements to maintain their specific license, permit or certificate.

HB 181 provides a waiver of the educational requirements and allows the licensee to return to Alaska and within a specific period of time fulfill the continuing education requirements.

If you have any comments or suggestions on these pieces of legislation please let me know. If you have encountered a law with regards to Child in Need of Aid laws and in protecting our children from sexual predators that is less than ideal - please contact me or my staff and we will look into drafting legislation to address the problem.

Your input is encouraged.