Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Constituents Doug Wooliver and his daughter were working this week in State Capitol in Juneau. Greg's daughter Jesslin Wolliver, age 12 and a student at O'Malley School in Anchorage, was honored as a guest page.

The photo shows House Page Jesslin "taking over" from my official seat on the State House floor! Jesslin received several compliments from legislators for her good work helping all of us.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


The 14th Alaska Knights of Columbus State Convention convened in Juneau this weekend. Marlene and I were honored to attend the banquet tonight to visit old friends and make new ones. The Knights of Columbus conventions are held in April every year in a different city, and only makes it to Juneau every five years. Since I’m in legislative session in Juneau in April, I took this rare opportunity to attend.

The Knights of Columbus, founded in 1882, is dedicated to the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism, and is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization with 1.7 million members in 14,000 councils. The Knights have had a presence in Alaska since 1914. In 1954, the Knights helped convince the U.S. Congress to add the phrase "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. Well known Knights include President Kennedy, Associate Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito, and Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida and brother of President Bush.

I joined the Knights in Warner-Robbins, Georgia in 1968 and, as military assignments moved me around the country, held Knights membership in Fairborn, Ohio, Riverside and Moreno Valley, California, and now Anchorage, Alaska.

The photo shows me with Sir Knights Johnny Lopotrone and Bernie Freeman from Anchorage, and with my Juneau friend Louie DeMayo who previously worked in the capitol, honored tonight as the Alaska “Knight of the Year.”

Friday, April 27, 2007


There’s a new toy on the market. It’s the Grindhouse Series 1 Rapist #1 Action Figure.” I kid thee not (I wish I were). The doll maker states the recommended age for having this rapist doll is “3 years and up.” Oh. The rapist doll carries a pistol, and is dressed in military attire. I have a photo of the doll, but I will not post it. The rapist doll glorifies rapists, and connects rapists to the military. That wins my “That’s Incredible Award.” Shame on the doll manufacturer. Shame on any pervert who would buy this doll.

Congratulations to Rep. Anna Fairclough for introducing House Joint Resolution 22, a resolution “Denouncing the National Entertainment Collectibles Association's production of the Rapist No. 1 collectible doll.” I’m a co-signer on the resolution. As Chair of the House State Affairs Committee, I’ve put the resolution at the heard of the line for a hearing in my committee on May 1st 2007.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Home mortgages are most often the largest loan s one will ever make in their lifetime. Most people who get a home mortgage are unaware of the both the inherent risks or the opportunities available, and may only go through the home loan process one or two times at most. Mortgage lending is complex, even for professionals. There are problems waiting to happen. Unbelievably, mortgage lenders are not licensed in Alaska so, anyone reading this blog in Alaska, could become such a lender without any qualification. I sponsored HB162 for consumer protection. Following is the testimony I presented to the House Finance Committee in support of my bill.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Mr. Chair, Members of the Committee:

Thank you for hearing HB162 today. First of all, I need to disclose I’m a licensed real estate broker, currently in referral status, and that my license is hung as a broker-associate with Prudential Vista in Anchorage.

For most of us, the biggest loan we’ll ever get in our lifetime is for the mortgage on our home. If we don’t get the right loan, with the right terms, it can be a very expensive thirty year mistake. Most of us who take out a mortgage don’t know much about the hidden mechanisms and inner workings of these loans, or ever changing state and federal mortgage laws – it seems like something’s different every day.

I recognized that fact every day when I was a working Realtor. The most important thing I know about mortgages is what I don’t know – and that’s why my first step, when, as a Realtor, I was fortunate enough to have a homebuyer, was to take that homebuyer to lender who knew what they were doing – a lender I had reason to believe knew the law, a lender who was qualified to match a proper loan to my buyer, work through any problems, and whom I had reason to believe was honest. And, quite frankly, having that good lender was even more important than finding my buyer the perfect house in the perfect location.

The importance of qualified lenders to consumers is exactly why I sponsored this bill. This bill has strong support from the Alaska Mortgage Bankers Association, the Alaska Mortgage Brokers Association, the Alaska Independent Lenders Association, and Realtors throughout the state. The Alaska Division of Banking and Securities also supports the bill – and I hope this committee joins in that support.

Persons working in the Alaska mortgage industry are not licensed and they are not required to have any training. Let me repeat that. Persons working in the Alaska mortgage industry are not licensed and they are not required to have any training! Alaska is the only state in the union that doesn’t regulate mortgage lenders.

Tattoo artists, and the person who cuts what little hair I have, and all kinds of other people are licensed, and must have training but, currently, someone who attempts to arrange a mortgage for you, your kid, or your mother, needs no training or license at all. That’s scary. That’s incredible. In fact, that’s incredible. Not only that, none of these people are required to have background checks, and are not subject to periodic examination by the Division of Banking and Securities. This bill fixes that.

Some people would like to exempt affiliates, but many of them are internet companies operating outside Alaska. I would like the bill to license everybody in Alaska who makes a home loan. There are other people here that will testify and speak directly to this point if requested.

As I said, state and federal laws concerning loan originations are complex and ever changing, and one needs to be an expert to speak with competence on the subject of this bill. I am not that person. However, the Division of Banking and Securities, and people in the lending industry, are prepared to walk you through this bill, explain why it is written as it is, and answer questions. This is a consumer protection bill of great importance, and I respectfully ask your support for HB162. Thank you.
The House Finance Committee passed my bill without object, and it is now goes to the House floor for a vote and, if it passes there, to the Senate. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I filed today for re-election to the Alaska State Legislature, as a Representative for House District 31 in south Anchorage.


Following is my testimony I presented today to the House Health, Education, and Social Services Committee(HESS) in support of HB4, the bill I've sponsored to eliminate the so-called "Certificate of Need" for medical facilities. As you'll read, I believe the certificate of need is poor public policy.
Madame Chair Peggy Wilson, Members of the Committee, thank you for hearing HB 4. There are three major purposes for this bill.

One: To increase potential availability of medical care and choice of provider.

Two: To create potential lower costs for patients and workers’ compensation.

Three: To employ the time-proven principles of traditional American free enterprise.

To me, the question is: Why should someone have to go “hat in hand” to a government bureaucrat to beg for a Certificate of Need to open a business?

In America, the free market should decide if a health care business, or any other business, is needed – not the state. I believe fee enterprise motivates excellence, encourages lower prices through competition, and benefits consumers – including patients. The current Certificate of Need creates a de facto medical monopoly. Quite frankly, I think the Certificate of Need could more accurately be called a “Certificate of Monopoly”!

People who need medical help deserve more choice of medical providers, not less. The Certificate of Monopoly limits choices. That’s the problem in a nutshell. Medical costs are skyrocketing. The way it is now, a lot of good people, and their kids, can’t afford to get sick. Deliverance of Alaskans from medical monopolies should help lower medical costs. Economics 101 taught us that, typically, monopolies increase costs, and competition lowers them.

I know that some of those who would maintain Certificate of Need monopolies will tell you that health care facilities are a “special case.” Well, you’ll be hearing from some experts who, in the words of news commentator Paul Harvey, will “tell you the rest of the story.”

Sometimes we have philosophical reasons for voting on bills the way we do – I know I do – and philosophical reasons can be OK. So, if philosophically you believe monopolies are sometimes good, vote against HB 4. If you believe competition will increase costs rather than lower costs, vote against HB 4.

But if you believe, as I do, that competition can lower costs, and that the American free enterprise system can work in the State of Alaska, just as well as any other place - then please vote to move HB 4 out of committee.

Again, I want to sincerely thank the Rep. Wilson, and also thank her aide Becky Rooney, for working with my office to make to today’s hearing on this important piece of legislation possible. Thank you.
The bill was held in committee without action, and will likely not be heard again until February 2008.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Today Anchorage Superintendent of School Carol Comeau and School Board President Tim Steele visited my office to discuss school issues – particularly school funding. Legislators also had an opportunity to meet with principals and school board members from across the state.

School administrators and policy makers have a very tough job, and I don’t envy them. One time in California someone asked me to run the school board. I declined. And they asked why. And I answered, “Because I’m afraid I might get elected”! The fact is, in many respects school board members have a tougher job than legislators. Votes in the legislature can be contentious. School board votes are contentious x 100.

As a parent of six, grandparent of eighteen – and also as a retired teacher – I understand the importance of public schools, and the need for good policy, curriculum, and adequate funding to help make good education happen. I can also look back on my own teaching experience.

My first teaching job was in 1959 at Stanford – not the university, but the elementary school in Westminster, Orange County, California. That’s the same year I made a home run from a pitch sent my way by the famous Dodgers baseball star Wally Moon, when Wally Moon played some baseball with Stanford Elementary School kids and teachers. That same year Wally Moon became famous for the "Moonshots" he hit over the 41 foot tall left-field fence that was just 250 feet from home plate in the Dodgers' temporary quarters in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

But I digress.

Let’s see if I can remember other places I taught in California: Gilbert Elementary, Garden Grove; Wells Intermediate, Riverside (special education); Edgemont Elementary, Moreno Valley; Allesandro Junior High; Moreno Valley; Lincoln Elementary (special education), San Bernardino; Cajon High School. San Bernardino (special education). I retired from teaching in 1995, when we moved to Alaska. I taught one year in Anchorage at Romig Junior High (teaching severely disturbed teenagers – good preparation for the legislature) in 1995-1996.

I enjoy discussing issues with school superintendents and board members, because that rarely happened during my years as a classroom teacher. It’s interesting that, since serving in the legislature, I’ve met more school superintendents and school board members than I did during my entire teaching career. Of course, during my teaching career, I didn’t get to sponsor legislation or vote on school issues. H’mmmn.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Today is “Earth Day.” Good. Earth is currently our home. Take care of it.

The earth God provided us is a gift – a gift that helps sustain humanity. From my perspective, humanity doesn’t serve the earth; the earth serves humanity. As good stewards of the gift, we should - we must - conserve earth’s resources. The gift of God’s good earth should be cared for, not vandalized. Earth Day can be worthy, if we don’t participate in earth idolatry. Honor the gift Giver, not the gift.

Our Teacher instructed many years ago, “. . . replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Consider the words “replenish,” “subdue,” “dominion,” "earth." Protect our environment. Conserve our resources. Use resources wisely – but use them. Happy Earth Day.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Tonight Marlene and I attended the 29th Annual Legislative Skits at the Centennial Hall in Juneau. Proceeds go to charity. Good show. Good fun. And yes, my name was among those mentioned.

The skits are put on by our talented legislative staffs. No legislator or governor is safe from barbs at the performance. Everyone’s a target. Oft times comedy doesn’t stray far from the truth (that’s what makes good comedy). There’s great talent in legislative staff, not just in helping legislators do their job, but also in singing, playing an instrument, satirical writing and performing comedy.

What were some of the best music and jokes about legislators? Won’t say.“What happens there stays there!”

Friday, April 20, 2007


Marlene and I enjoyed dinner at the Filipino Community of Juneau tonight with friends. We really enjoyed the adobo chicken, which is one of the most popular Filipino dishes. Spanish was once widely spoken in the Philippine Islands. Adobo is the Spanish word for seasoning or marinade. Adobo consists of soy sauce, vinegar, crushed garlic, and other ingredients.

Filipino-Americans are the largest group of Asians in Alaska, and are about 2% of Alaska's population. Nearly 13,000 called Alaska home in the 2000 federal census. These good folks have had a presence in Alaska since the 1700s.


I have sponsored HB3, a bill that requires legal presence in the United States and, by extension, legal presence in Alaska to qualify for an Alaska driver’s license. I have attempted to get similar legislation passed for four years. Good news: this year’s bill has passed the House State Affairs Committee, and today had its first hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. Following are my opening remarks today to the Judiciary Committee:
Honorable Chair, and honorable members of the Judiciary Committee, thank you for hearing HB3. This bill does basically two things.

Number One: Requires a person to show valid documentary evidence that the person is here with a legal presence and that the person is who they say they are.

Number two: Makes the driver's license expires when that person’s legal presence in Alaska expires.

Why should someone have the privilege of driving a car down the street when they don’t have the legal presence to walk down that same street?

HB 3 is not the Federal Real ID Act. In fact, I sponsored HB 40 in 2003, similar to this bill. That’s two years before the federal Real ID Act became law. Yes, HB 3 may bring Alaska into compliance with certain provisions of the Real ID Act, allowing Alaskans to use their Alaska driver’s license or ID to enter secure federal buildings or to board airplanes. I have no problem with that.

I know some of you may have a problem with the federal Real ID Act. If you do, then you should support HJR 19, which is a resolution opposing the “Real ID Act.” But please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water by opposing this good bill. HB3 should be judged on its own merits.

Having said that, there could be some philosophical reasons some may have for voting against HB 3.

You may believe illegal aliens should be able to have a driver license. Then vote against HB 3.

You believe an Alaskan Driver License and ID card should not be proof that an individual is who they say they are. Then you should vote against HB 3.

But if you believe as I do, that it’s obvious that a legal presence in the State of Alaska should be required for the privilege of driving in Alaska, and that our State Driver license and State Id Card should be proof that a person is who they say the are. Then you should vote for HB 3. Period. End of story. Thank you!

There was, to my mind, some radical opposition to the bill by the few who testified. Nonetheless, the majority of the Judiciary Committee seemed to be fairly positive. The bill was held in committee for a section by section analysis by Mr. Bannock, the Director of the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Legislators and staff were briefed today on Project Labor Agreements and apprentice training by Mr. Vince Beltrami, Executive President of Alaska AFL-CIO (see photo). Workers will be needed to build the Alaska gas pipeline, and it’s essential that those workers are trained and ready to go when pipeline construction starts. A competent work force, trained and ready to go, is essential to a successful pipeline project. Vince is a constituent of mine in south Anchorage Alaska House District 31.


Governor Sarah Palin today met with the Republican House Majority in the Governor’s Conference Room to discuss gas pipeline issues, and her proposed Alaska Gas Pipeline Inducement Act (AGIA). Drue Pierce, 17 year veteran of the Alaska Legislature, and now Alaska’s gas pipeline representative in Washington DC, gave us an update. Commissioner Tom Irwin gave us additional insight into ongoing pipeline negotiations. The governor met with the House Minority previously.

Photos show Governor Palin at the meeting, Drue Pierce brifing us, with Palin's Chief of Staff Mike Tibbles looking on, and a portion of the my legislative colleagues at the conference table.

The highlight is the willingness of Governor Palin to work with the legislature in the common goal of getting an appropriate gas pipeline contract. This is a major positive difference in style from the previous administration. Bottom line: I’m encouraged.


While on a “Stop Global Warming" bus tour, rock singer Sheryl Crow had an environmental epiphany on forest preservation. Fortunately for humanity, she shared her epiphany with us via her April 19th “Saving the Earth: The Biodiesel Bus Blog.”

Crow wrote, “I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting.” As if humanity didn’t have enough to feel guilty about.

According to Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia, Sheryl Crow's idea “seems to be of limited efficacy in addressing carbon emissions.” Drats.

Monday, April 16, 2007


My Longevity Bonus re-application bill was heard today in the House Judiciary Committee. One of the persons who gave very articulate testimony before the committee was Mr. Ralph Hunt, a ninety year old previous recipient of the Longevity Bonus. One photo shows me with Mr. Hunt, and the other photo shows Mr. Hunt with my staffer Mike Sica testifying before the committee. Following are my prepared remarks to the committee:
Mr. Chair, Members of the Judiciary Committee: I appreciate your hearing HB79 today. I’m going to ask my staffer Mike Sica to present HB79, which is enacting legislation required for reapplication by previous longevity bonus recipients of the program.

But first, I want to assure you that this bill, HB79, is not intended to restore funding for the longevity bonus. Funding is, and should be, within the purview of the Finance Committee, followed by a vote on the House floor – not HB79. The fiscal note to this bill has caused some confusion on the intent of this bill, as may be explained later.

The intent of HB79 is only to make re-application possible for previously qualified bonus recipients, if the bonus is funded once again, as I hope it will be. However, no applications would be issued, unless the governor and the legislature agree to once again fund the bonus program. The purpose of his bill is something like the Boy Scout promise: “Be Prepared.”

One possibility I’d like to prepare for, and which I’d highly recommend, is that we help the thousands of elderly Alaskans live out their days in a decent and dignified manner by funding both the promise-based longevity bonus and the needs-based Senior Assistance Program, but require that seniors choose one, or the other, but not both. That’s something I think we should seriously consider. “Choice” can be a very good thing, when it’s a good choice for seniors. This bill could help pave the way for that choice.

With these thoughts in mind, I would ask that we avoid a debate on perceived merits and demerits of the Longevity Bonus issue itself – or the Senior Assistance Program, which I also support - and concentrate on the re-application process for the Longevity Bonus this bill addresses.

Good News: HB79 passed out of the House Judiciary Committee without object. The next committee of referral is the House Finance Committee. Keep your fingers crossed!


Today on the House floor I gave the following floor speech:
Some people label themselves “pro-choice,” and some people label themselves “anti-choice.” But the fact of the matter is, choice is neither “good” nor “bad,” it just depends what the choice is.

Personally, I label myself “choice” – when it comes to helping seniors. I would like to see both – both – the Senior Assistance Program become law, and the Longevity Bonus get funded - but that eligible seniors choose one program or the other, but not both. This choice would be good for seniors, and good for the state, and might even save some money.

The Senior Assistance Program we attempted to debate the other day, but which was sent back to the Rules Committee, is one good solution to assisting needy citizens. A lot of good people worked very hard on that bill, including my good colleague from District 32 – and I would have voted in favor of the bill had I had a chance.

The Senior Assistance Program is a “needs based” program based on perceived needs of seniors. All of us deal with needs every day. That’s why we were elected – in fact, almost everybody who comes into my office expresses a need for something, and that something usually very good, and usually involves money. The Senior Assistance Program is a needs-based program, just like education, just like power cost equalization, just like many other good programs.

The Longevity Bonus is another good program. The Longevity Bonus is a “promised based” program – and please don’t tell me we don’t make promises down here, because we do. As anyone will tell you, if you’re going to be a good legislator your word has to be your bond. In fact, the first promise we made was when we raised our hand and took an oath on the day we took office. The fact of the matter is, a lot of seniors relied – right or wrong - on a promise they thought we made.

Yes, it’s true. Some needy seniors, didn’t qualify for the Longevity Bonus and that doesn’t seem fair. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. But that doesn’t excuse breaking a promise, real or perceived. It reminds me of a book I once read by somebody named Matthew in which the boss paid the same promised wage to folks who worked only a few hours, as he paid to others who worked all day and got the same thing. Was that fair? Whatever, the promise was kept, according to the person who inspired Matthew.

So here’s my recommendation. Enact the Senior Assistance Program and fund the Longevity Bonus. Then have eligible seniors select one program, or the other, but not both. That’s something we need to seriously consider. Choice can be a very good thing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


The Carolina Chocolate Drops from, where else, North Carolina closed out this year’s Alaska Folk Festival this Sunday evening. The antebellum combination of banjo, fiddle, and voice used to be a tradition in most black rural communities in the South. Wow! What a performance by the Chocolate Drops! Every member of the group was fantastic. I enjoyed Sule Greg Wilson, a percussionist on washboard and the Bodhrán Irish drum, and the fellow who made clickety-clack tap dance sounds with musical bones – but to me the star was of the Chocolate Drops was young Rhiannon Giddens.

What a remarkable talent is Rhiannon Giddens: Mountain music fiddler exemplar, five-string banjo picker extraordinaire, country dance soloist, singer with a burly tough blues voice! But guess what? She also has a degree in voice from Oberlin College, and sings opera on the concert stage. In the cover of the CD I purchased, she says, "The music tells of my family, black, white, and native. It is home to me, and I feel honored and Blessed to be able to play it and keep some of these traditions alive." People like Rhiannon Giddens make me realize how little I’ve accomplished - I may throw away my saxophone (not really).

The folk festival ended, as it traditionally does, with a group sing (me too) of “Good Night Irene.” That plaintive folk song brings back memories – we used to sing “Good Night Irene” in the barracks when I was in Air Force basic training at Lackland AFB.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Marlene and I took the opportunity to see the Don Ho show in Honolulu in 2003. Glad we did. We won’t be able to see it again. The great entertainer died from heart failure April 14th at age 76. So many great entertainers have left the scene. To mention a few: Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Jimmy Durante, and scores of others – and now Don Ho.

For the benefit of younger readers, Don Ho was possibly the biggest singing star ever of Hawaiian entertainment, with a wide following of fans throughout the nation. Few people in my generation traveled to Hawaii without seeing his show. Don Ho’s most famous songs were “Tiny Bubbles” ("Tiny bubbles/in the wine/make me happy/make me feel fine.") and my favorite “Pearly Shells.” I remember Don Ho’s show as a relaxing evening of good music, laid back self-deprecating humor. His style was not very hip by today’s raunchy standards, but was nice to be entertained by good music not cacophony.

The photo shows my wife Marlene with Don. After the show, he was very generous in allowing fans to have their pictures taken with him. Many years previously her mother Edith Wagner also enjoyed the Don Ho show.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Anchorage ABC television Channel 11 interviewed me today about HB237, my House State Affairs Committee legislationthat would permit a governor to suspend a university regent for any of the following reasons:

1) A criminal complaint, presentment, information, or indictment involving a felony in any jurisdiction

2) An information or formal criminal charges of a misdemeanor if it involves dishonesty, breach of trust or the University

3) Allegations of nonfeasance in the office including misconduct in office, an inability to serve, neglect of duty or incompetence

HB 237 has been referred to the House State Affairs Committee, then on to the House Judiciary Committee Committee, for consideration.

I told the TV reporter that if the governor has the power to appoint a university regent, that a governor should likewise have the power to remove, if that was their decision. That's the case with state commissioners, and the same should apply to regents. The bill was introduced on the House floor on April 13th.

The mission of the university system in educating the future leaders of Alaska must not get hung up with recourse when a regent's behavior, real or alleged,could cause damage to the university. This bill would "put the ball in the a governor's court" on such matters.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Today another of my consumer protection bills passed the House. Following is my House floor speech in support of the bill:

Mr. Speaker: HB182 is a small, one-page bill, about small dollar checks that cause big headaches for Alaska consumers. The checks are maybe for only three or four dollars and, according to the Department of Law, the checks are sent to thousands of businesses and individuals throughout our state.

The good news? The checks are legitimate. The bad news? The checks are “legitimate.” In actuality, cashing one of these checks can amount to an unintended contract. Hundreds of Alaskans cash these little checks, only to find themselves obligated by contract for products and services they don’t want and never needed.

Let me give you an example. Last year, the Alaska Department of Law announced a settlement with a California-based company that sent Alaskans what appeared to be rebates from local yellow page companies. Not so. Endorsement of a check for $3.49 was actually a contract for $179 in advertising services – which they didn’t want and didn’t need.

Consumers, who thought they were getting a very small windfall, got a much larger downfall. That’s because they didn’t see the tiny, fine print, disclosure on the back of the check. Or, if they did see it, they didn’t have a magnifying glass. And when the checks are endorsed, consumers end up getting billed - and sometimes hounded - by collection agencies, and damage to their credit rating.

The Consumer Protection Unit of the Alaska Department of Law considers these promotional checks to be a classic example of deceptive acts or practices -
and believe that prohibiting these kinds of checks is the only effective method of preventing these unintended contracts, and subsequent charges, from occurring.

HB 182 makes these kinds of promotional checks an unfair or deceptive act or practice, and makes it an automatic violation of Consumer Protection laws.

Under this bill, companies that violate the law are subject to a civil penalty of a minimum of $1,000 per violation, and a maximum of $25,000 per violation.

I am honored that the Alaska Department of Law let me know about these deceptive checks, and agree with them that HB182 is high priority consumer protection legislation.

Your support of this bill is respectfully requested.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


HB198, the House version of the new Senior Assistance was presented on the House floor today. I liked the bill, and wanted to vote for it, but the bill included language that would have forever killed the Longevity Bonus. Personally, I would like to pass a Senior Assistance Program, and also once again fund the Longevity Bonus – but with the caveat that eligible seniors would have to choose either the Assistance Program, or the Bonus, but not both. The following is my floor speech, promoting my amendment to retain the Longevity Bonus language in statute:


Mr. Speaker: This amendment takes out the language from the Senior Assistance bill that removes the Longevity Bonus from statute. The language that this amendment removes has nothing whatsoever – nothing whatsoever - to do with the terms of the Senior Assistance Program we have before us today. If we want to remove Longevity Bonus language from statute, then someone sponsor a bill that does exactly that - and then let’s vote it up or vote it down – but please don’t leave a poison pill in one good program to destroy what many seniors think is another good program.

Mr. Speaker, the Longevity Bonus issue needs to be decided in the proper forum, which is the well-established, standard committee process. This bill, without this amendment, would kill two of my bills already in the committee process. One is a bill that establishes re-application procedures for the Longevity Bonus. That bill has already passed out of the House State Affairs Committee, and I’ve already asked for a hearing in the Judiciary Committee. I also have another bill referred to the House Finance Committee to fund the Longevity Bonus. Let the process work the way it’s supposed to work. We don’t need a killer clause for longevity statue language in the Senior Assistance bill.

This amendment makes HB198 into one narrowly focused bill, rather than two conflicting measures: one to assist seniors through the creation of a needs-based program, and another that could hurt seniors by forever killing a promised-based program. The bonus program is not currently funded, but hopefully, it may be restored in the future – many elderly Alaskans are depending on it.

Without this amendment, many of us who would wish to vote for the Senior Assistance Program cannot do so, unless this amendment passes – and that includes me.

I want to thank Governor Palin for her continuing strong support of the Longevity bonus, as well as for her support on a lot of other issues. Whatever your position on the merits of the Longevity Bonus program, I ask for your support of this amendment to HB198.

After intensive debate, I made the following “wrap up” speech in support of my Longevity Bonus language saving amendment.


Mr. Speaker: I’m a strong proponent of keeping the promise of our Longevity Bonus. Always have been. Am now. Always will be. Everybody knows that.

And I’ve got to confess Mr. Speaker, it was tempting – tempting to convert HB79, my longevity bonus reapplication bill, into an amendment to this bill. And it was tempting to convert HB11, my Longevity Bonus appropriation bill, into an amendment to this bill. But I didn’t sponsor those amendments, and I didn’t force those votes.

More importantly, I didn’t make those amendments because it would have been inappropriate. It would have been inappropriate because I respect the legislative process - because I respect colleagues who disagree with me on this issue.

And now Mr. Speaker, I ask for the same respect – the same respect - by a “Yes” vote on the simple amendment we do have before us. A “Yes” vote on this amendment will permit all of us to vote, as we wish to vote, on the Senior Assistance Program, and only on the Senior Assistance Program.


GOOD NEWS: My amendment passed on a vote of 23 Yes, 20 No, with 3 excused. BAD NEWS: HB198 was removed from the House floor and sent back to the Rules Committee, thereby making us unable to vote Yes on the Senior Assistance Program. Why did this happen? I shan’t speculate.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


The Easter / Passover Holidays are a refreshment both physical and spiritual. That’s what I said on the House floor before the Legislature adjoined for the long Holiday weekend.

People work long and hard in their vocations, including the marvelous albeit - sometimes difficult - vocation of tending to family. Physical refreshment is good. Spiritual refreshment is even better. It’s important to recognize that the word “Holiday” derives from “Holy Day.”

For Christians, Easter tells us that pain, suffering, and death are never the last words. My Church bulletin today, it adds, “Our task as Christians is to believe in spite of all that we see in the world around us.” In the Judaic tradition, Passover commemorates the freedom of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt, being allowed to fully participate in their faith, and more.

The common denominator between Easter and Passover Holidays is recognition of our dependence on God. Happy Holy Days!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Realtor Friends

In my “other life” (meaning non-legislative), I’m a real estate Broker-Associate currently on “referral” status.

The Alaska Association of Realtors visited the capitol today to help legislators become aware of their industry's Alaska concerns. Among them were some of my friends from Realtor days in Anchorage came calling at my capitol office today: Barb Huntley (one of my former sales managers), Linda Friday Cardoza (whom I first worked with in 1995), and Eva Loken who I’ve also known for some time.

I started my career as a Realtor in Riverside, California in 1976, working part-time while still active duty in the Air Force at March AFB. After retiring from the military, I earned Broker status, and then operated “Bob Lynn Realtors,” a small real estate company in Sunnymead (now the City of Moreno Valley, a city I helped found and where I was on the first City Council). I also taught real estate at Riverside Community College.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Ethics Bill Passes House. Halleluiah!

Governor Palin’s ethics bill HB109 was passed today in the House with a unanimous vote. Halleluiah! The bill is now in the hands of the State Senate. It’s the governor’s bill, but a large group of bipartisan representatives - including me - have “skin” in the bill. Following is my speech on the House floor in support of HB109:

Mr. Speaker:

The most important thing we can do in this legislature is to build a stronger foundation of trust – the trust between the people of Alaska, and the people they elect to public office. That’s what this bill is all about.

Do we want, do we need, a gas pipeline? Of course we do. We all want that. What’s the first step for the gas pipeline contract? I think it could be this ethics bill. If the people of Alaska see this legislature build a stronger foundation of trust by passing HB109, the people of Alaska will be more likely to trust our decisions on AGIA, the pipeline route, the pipeline contract, who gets the pipeline contact, and everything else we do. And trust is what this bill is all about.

And how do we build trust? We build trust with transparency, disclosure, and laws about what elected officials can and can not do. We do our best to pass ethics legislation that will help the ethically challenged uphold the high standards of conduct the public has a right to expect from the people they elect.

The very first committee hearing in our State Affair’s Committee, was on ethics legislation. I sponsored a bill, HB10, with my name and other legislators. Mr. Speaker, you sponsored a bill, HB20, with your name and other legislators. And other bills were sponsored by other legislators, both Republican and Democrat. And these were all good bills. And then the governor sponsored her own good bill, HB109.

We thought better ethics legislation was too important for individual names to be attached to it – so in our State Affairs Committee we rolled 13 bills, and thirty-five amendments, plus I-don’t-know-how-many amendments to amendments, into the governor’s bill. To make that happen, we appointed a bi-partisan sub-committee chaired by our Rules Chair, assisted by the representative from Muldoon, and the representative from Mountain View whose max amendments made the bill into a much improved piece of legislation.

Then the bill came before the full committee, and we were pleased to take recommendations from Joyce Anderson of the Legislative Ethics Committee, and Brooke Miles of APOC. Deputy Attorney General David Jones, from the governor’s office, worked with us every step of the way. I must also say that the staffs of all the legislators involved have done invaluable work on this bill, as well as the House pages in putting together the briefing books – and thank you. This bill is the result of a very successful team effort, and that includes public testimony.

We put an excellent package together. Then we sent HB109 to the Judiciary Committee, where 38 other amendments were carefully considered. And the Judiciary Committee also did a great job. We might even call HB109 “AGEIA II” – the “Alaska Governmental Ethics Inducement Act”!

I’m here to tell you, Mr. Speaker, HB109 is an excellent bill. Is it a perfect bill? No it is not. We’re not perfect legislators, so we don‘t put together perfect bills. But HB109 an excellent bill that we can all be proud of. HB109 will strengthen the foundation of trust we need between the people of Alaska and their government. This is a bill whose time has come. I respectfully request your support.

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