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).

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.


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