Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Coghill and Dyson Announce Move to Protect Parental Rights From Activist Court

Legislators attending the press conference today are from left to right: Rep. Bill Stoltze, Senator Donny Olson, Rep. Kevin Meyer. Senator Fred Dyson, Rep. John Coghill, Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom, Rep. Mike Kelly, Rep. Craig Johnson, and Rep. Bob Lynn.

Senator Fred Dyson and I held a press conference today announcing our plan to restore a parent's ability to direct and control the medical care of their minor children, better known as parental consent.

Senator Dyson and I are both prefiling a constitutional amendment this winter that will ask the people of Alaska to reverse the Alaska Supreme Court decision denying parents the right to properly guide their children in abortion decisions.
The decision was a blatant example of how the Alaska Supreme Court continues to make law, not by deciding the constitutionality, but by personal preference.

Parents are a child's guardian and protector. This Court's decision would deny the dignity to the family by forbidding parents to give guidance to a child in such a large decision.

Alaska's parental consent law was passed in May of 1997 after the legislature voted to override the veto of the bill by then Governor Tony Knowles. The law was carefully crafted to conform with the U.S. Supreme Court decision that required such a law to provide for a judicial bypass for a minor seeking an abortion without the consent of a parent, guardian, or custodian.

Four days before the law was to take effect, a Superior Court Judge (Sen Tan) ordered the law unconstituional and it never became effective law.
Justice Walter Carpeneti wrote a dissenting opinion and was joined in his opinion by Justice Warren Matthews. Carpeneti began his dissenting opinion with the following remarks:
"In 1997, faced with competing interests of the highest constitutional level - an underage pregnant girl's constitutional right (and duty) to protect her best interests, and the state's compelling interests in protecting children against their own immaturity - the Alaska Legislature carefully crafted the Alaska Parental Consent Act in an effort to recognize and protect all these interests. That law is fully consistent with the United States Supreme Court precedent, yet today's opinion strikes it down. Because this court's rejection of the legislature's thoughtful balance is inconsistent with our own case law and unnecessarily dismissive of the legislature's role in expressing the will of the people, I respectfully dissent."

Carpeneti also criticized the majority decision stating the Court "quickly passes over" the state's compelling interest in the "protection of children and of parents' right and duty to raise their children."

Once the resoltuion is passed by a two-thirds vote of the legislature, the language in the resolution would be placed on the November 2008 General Election Ballot. Passage of the ballot measure would place parental consent in the Constitution to protect the family from the Courts.

The language as proposed reads:

"Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, a parent or guardian is entitled to direct and control the medical care of their minor child, subject only to emergency situations as defined by the legislature, and a judicial bypass procedure as created by the legislature which is consistent with the criteria set forth in Bellott v. Baird, 443 U.S. 622 (1979)"

I think it was no accident the Court announced their decision in this case two days after the retirement of a Knowles appointee to the Alaska Supreme Court who joined in the majority decision. The judicial activism of this Court dominated by Knowles appointees must be challenged. I look forward to Governor Palin being able to make appointments to the bench that will confine themselves to uphold the constitution and reasonable interpretation of the law, not creating law.

I have not ruled out introducing legislation revising the existing statute to further challenge the Alaska Supreme Court or anything else I can do to restore the right to legislate to the legislature.
For more information on parental rights and the recent court decision, go to the Alaska Family Council website below:

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Constituent Meeting November 10th

Representative Coghill will be holding a constituent meeting Saturday, November 10th at North Pole City Hall from 10:00 a.m. to Noon. He would like to discuss the current special session addressing petroleum production taxes and make time for questions and comments from his constituents in the North Pole area on any subject.

The ACES, Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share, Bills in each house are in the last committee of referral, the Finance Committee, and will not doubt end up in a conference committee to sort out the differences between the Senate and the House versions of the bill.

The following is an email Representative Coghill sent to some constituents that asked his opinion on the Governor's bill:

Lately, and with good reason, many constituents have asked me how I feel about the Governor’s new tax plan for the oil companies, as well as what I believe is the best solution to the natural resources issue before us now. Without getting into the mundane details and numbers, I will try to answer your questions the best I can.

I am not a fan of taxing just so we can redistribute wealth throughout the population. However, as part of the statehood compact the resources of the state were given to us by Congress so that we could afford to govern ourselves, therefore we must get the best value for Alaskans from our resource base.

The PPT debate has three dimensions: 1.) To bring all the debate out in to the open and take a look at the substance without a cloud of corruption 2.) Rethink what is a fair share for Alaska from her resources 3.) To encourage exploration for new fields and also to get heavy oil from older fields.

I should mention that we get money from the oil and gas resources from several different ways*:
* Property Tax - $54.5 Million

* Corporate Petroleum Tax - $661.1 Million

* Production Tax - $1.2 Billion

* Royalties (including Bonuses, Rents & Interests) - $1.8 Billion

*Figures taken from Dept. of Revenue FY 2006

In contrast, other revenue generated in Alaska amounts to about $450 Million per year.

My position on this bill is generally in favor of it. I like the Governor’s tax rate, but I am not a supporter of the 10% floor rate for legacy fields mostly because of the need to get the heavy oil out. I like the audit provisions that help us verify investment and expenses and I favor the progressivity that gets Alaska a greater share when the prices go higher.

Representative Coghill discusses ACES with Steve Quinn from the Associated Press.