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).

Friday, February 27, 2009


I chaired a most remarkable House State Affairs Committee meeting today. Thirty-five students from the Polaris K-12 School in Anchorage testified by phone today in support of HB 14: "An Act designating the Alaskan Malamute as the official state dog." The bill passed out of committee with 4 “Do Pass,” 2 “No Recommendation,” 1 “Amend.” In the spirit of full disclosure, I was a “No Recommendation.” The bill now resides in the Rules Committee, for potential scheduling on the House floor.

When I learned thirty-five students would be testifying, I expected the hearing to last past my bedtime (which is always late). No so. The students had their political act together. Each held to their time limit, and no one repeated the same testimony – I wish adults who testify would do so well. They even followed ponderous legislative procedure when speaking to someone on the committee other than the Chair with the correct, “Rep. So-and-So – “through the chair.” Later in the afternoon, some students were able to fly down to Juneau and visit face-to-face with legislators. My impression: kids like these make the future of Alaska secure.

The “Malamute Bill” was sponsored by the kids (but officially by Rep. Berta Gardner) as a civics lesson, and coordinated with the Polaris School faculty. Congratulations to everybody involved. That includes "Frost" the Malamute, the school mascot, pictured above!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I honored to be invited to attend and speak at Governor Palin’s Press Conference in support of legislation that requires parental consent for a minor daughter’s abortion. Bills are being sponsored in the House by Rep. John Coghill (I’m a co-sponsor), and in the Senate by Se. Donny Olson. The following are my remarks at the press conference:

"Thank you Governor, Senator Olson, and Rep. Coghill, for your superb leadership in support of parental rights. I believe the Alaska Supreme Court committed aggravated assault on parental rights with a 3-2 vote. The Court made parents irrelevant when their minor daughter needs them most. These bills fix that, and that’s why I support them. This bill isn’t about abortion, it’s about parental rights."

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Brian Judy, the NRA Liaison for Alaska, visited with me today to discuss Second Amendment issues. Disclosure: I'm an NRA member, have co-sponsored pro-Second Amendment legislation, and am a former competitive shooter. Someone asked me during my first campaign, "Are you a gun owner"? I answered, "Break into my home, and you'll know the answer." The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution confers a right to keep and bear arms. It's a right, not a priviledge. Rights not defended are soon lost.


US Senator Lisa Murkowski today presented her annual address to a Joint Session of our Alaska Legislature. Good speech and timely. She acknowledged the troubling national economic situation, but blasted much of the so-called bailout package. She said, the “stimulus package that spends billions and billions of dollars but is neither timely nor targeted. Only 13 percent of the money for infrastructure and other projects designed to create jobs will occur this year.” But she senator faced reality, promising “I will do everything I can to ensure that Alaska gets its share of this economic stimulus package.”

The headliner of Sen. Murkowski’s speech was a proposal that “will enable the oil reserves beneath ANWR to be explored and produced through directional drilling from locations outside the exterior boundaries of the refuge.” She said “drilling would take place on state lands and in state waters.” The goal would be to extract at least some small amount of the oil and gas from its politically stranding beneath ANWR.

I had a chance to visit with Sen. Murkowski at a legislative reception prior to her speech, primarily to discuss constituent issues.

Monday, February 16, 2009


What do you get when you combine 44 - or 51 - presidents into one “Presidents Day”? Presidential muddy soup, that’s what.

Methinks our current “President’s Day” submerges the brilliant, the genius, and the monumental personages of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln into a muddy mix with the likes of Chester Arthur and other underwhelmers - not to mention some modern presidents who shall remain nameless (insert your own names, if you will).

More than that, what about President John Hanson? Our new nation was founded in 1781 under the Articles of Confederation. President Hanson, our first president, took office at the end of the Revolutionary War. His accomplishments were many. President Hanson told foreign troops to skedaddle, ordered the removal of foreign flags, established the Seal of the United States, established Thanksgiving Day, and more. Six other presidents followed John Hanson: Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henry Lee, Nathan Gorman, Arthur St. Clair, and Cyrus Griffin.

Then, and only then, came President George Washington - who became out first president under the United States Constitution. So, are these seven relatively unknown presidents who served under the Articles of Confederation celebrated on “President’s Day”? Inquiring minds want to know!

The presidential greats are unfairly diminished by the presidential not-so-greats, in the so-called “President’s Day.” How about enacting a Washington – Jefferson - Lincoln Day? Let’s eliminate the presidential muddy soup.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Michael Medved, nationally syndicated talk-radio host, came to Juneau to speak at tonight’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Medved, an unrepentant conservative and former liberal activist, gave a well received conservative exhortation to his mostly Republican audience. His speech was strong - but not “over- the top” – entertaining as well as thoughtful. He’s the kind of fellow with whom one can disagree, but still like. Medved even demonstrated gracious patience, when my camera flash repeated failed to function when trying to get his photo. I did get a recognizable photo with him despite the malfunctioning flash.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court Dana Fabe addressed a joint Session of our Legislature today. Several other Supreme Court justices were in the gallery. She joined the Supreme Court in 1995, and became Chief Justice in 2000.

Justice Fabe's speech centered on the development of tAdd Imagehe judicial system in Alaska, but warned that nationwide financial turmoil will likely lead to greater demands on our court system, such as an increase in foreclosures, domestic violence, and criminal activity. Unfortunately, she’s probably right. Photos were taken from my front row seat in the House. The first photo shows her greeting Senate President Stevens and House Speaker Chenault.

Monday, February 09, 2009


All kinds of folks visit my legislative office in Juneau. Many are seeking funds for their program – and it’s usually for a very good cause. Many others come to persuade me to vote “yes” or “no” on a particular bill. All this is good.

But my favorite visitors? Young people who want to learn how the legislative process works (or doesn’t work), and talk to me about their vision for the future of our state and nation. These young people bring fresh ideas, new perspectives, and optimism. I wish I had had that opportunity when I was their age.

Today five such future Alaska leaders came to visit me. They were sponsored by the Northern Conference of Young Alaskans. It’s encouraging that our future belongs to them. One of them, Amy Voss, lives just a couple blocks from me in Anchorage – but it was the first time I met her. Amy is studying German and International Relations at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I told her I had lived in Germany a couple years, can actually ask directions in my version of German, and that I have English-German bilingual daughter (Robyn) and grandson (Nathan), and that I enjoy playing sax in Oompah “blasmusik” bands.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


So what are some of the things I do as a State Representative at the capitol? The following is a portion of my legislative activities from January 17 through February 6. Not included: study of bills, issue discussion, routine office paperwork, correspondence, in and out visits with legislative colleagues, staff from other offices, personal activities, blog writing, phoning District 31 constituents.

Sat. Jan 17, 2009: Fly from Anchorage to Juneau with Marlene. Check into Driftwood Lodge Motel in downtown Juneau. Unpack. Buy groceries.

Mon. Jan 19: First staff meeting of 2009 with my staff Nancy Manly, Dirk Moffatt, and Mike Sica. Set office procedures. Review pending personal legislation. Planning. Start unpacking office.
Tues. Jan 20: First House Floor Session of the 26th Legislature. Swearing in by Lt. Governor Sean Parnell and Opening Ceremonies. Official Photo. Meet at Lt. Gov Parnell’s office to sign Oath of Office. Photo with Lt. Governor Parnell. Meet with Commissioner of Public Safety Schmidt. Continue unpacking.

Wed. Jan 21: House Floor Session. Meeting with three representatives of the Knik Arm Bridge Authority (KABATA). Meeting with Alaska Professional Firefighters Association re line of duty death benefits. Majority Caucus in Speaker’s Chambers. City of Juneau Legislative Welcoming Reception at Centennial Hall.

Thurs. Jan 22: Give speech at Alaskans for Life Rally on capitol steps. Public Safety Sub-Committee overview hearing. Meet with Public Safety Commissioner Schmidt. Attend Joint Session of Legislature to hear Governor Sarah Palin’s State of the State Address.

Fri. Jan 23: House Floor Session. Pass citations. Labor and Commerce Committee. In-State Labor and Workforce Development Hearing with Commissioner of Labor Bishop.

Mon Jan 26: House Floor session. Office staff meeting. Joint House-Senate Judiciary Committee overview meeting. Meet with Public Safety Commissioner Schmidt.

Tue Jan 27: Meet with Lt. General Campbell, Alaska Adjutant General on Alaska Territorial Guard issues, Alaska Youth Academy, and budget. Meeting with Alaska Firefighters Union representative. Health and Social Services Committee hearing with Commissioner Hogan and Financial Services Division. AFL/CIO Reception.

Wed Jan 28: House floor session. Meeting with Operation Engineers Group representative. House Judiciary Committee meeting with Attorney General Colberg for overview and legislative subpoena issues. Reception with Alaska Municipal League.

Thurs. Jan 29: Chaired State Affairs Committee meeting. Heard two House bills and Governor Palin’s bill on Permanent Fund divestment in Darfur, with Commissioner of Revenue Galvin, and Permanent Fund CEO Burns. Meeting with representative of the Alaska Independent Blind Association. Meeting with governor’s representative for Governor’s Council on Disability. Meeting with Professional Workforce Development by Health and Social Services, Tribal Health Consortium, Alaska Mental Health Trust, State Hospital and Nursing Homes. Game Feed reception in Speaker’s Chambers by Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. Labor and Workforce Development Budget Sub-Committee hearing.

Fri. Jan 30: Meeting with constituent from Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. Meeting with legislative colleague regarding legal presence bill and Darfur bill. House floor session. Judiciary Committee meeting for overview of Corrections Department with Deputy Commissioner for Corrections Operations. Prepared addendum for Judiciary Chairman's gasoline pricing report.

Mon. Feb 2: Meeting with Constituent Stencil, Operations Manager with Anchorage Soil and Water Conservation. House Floor session. Judiciary Committee – passed my HB4 False Caller ID bill out of committee, and heard HB 96. Labor and Commerce Committee, heard HB87 on benefits for disabled peace officers, and HB 64 about gift cards.

Tue. Feb 3: Military and Veterans Affairs Budget Sub-Committee Hearing. Chaired State Affairs Committee to consider my HB42 instant on-line campaign reporting bill. Instruction on Blackberry operations by technicians, NEA representative discussing defined benefits retirement legislation. Health and Social Services hearing with Deputy Commissioner on Suicide Prevention issues. Meeting with legislative colleague on my bill requiring legal presence required for an Alaska drivers’ license. Labor and Workforce Development Budget Sub-Committee hearing.

Wed. Feb 4: House floor session, regarding extending Joint Armed Forces Committee, and projects for federal stimulus package. Judiciary Committee to consider confirmation of two Ethics Committee members, and extension of the Alaska Bar Association Board of Governors. House Majority Caucus in Speaker’s Chambers with Gov Sarah Palin.

Thurs. Feb 5: Chaired State Affairs Committee, heard and passed my HB3 requiring legal presence for an Alaska driver’s license. Meeting with constituent and director of Serve Alaska Committee. Public Safety Budget Finance Sub-Committee.

Fri. Feb 6: House floor session, citations. Birthday luncheon for Marlene and me by staff. Telephone call to constituent concerned about President Obama’s policies. Meeting with State Veterinarian regarding my HB6 bill. Meeting with constituent representing Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference. Meeting with AFL/CIO representative to discuss House Resolution 5 to be heard next week in Labor and Commerce Committee. Review and discussion of Senate stance on subpoena issues, and Lt. Gov. Parnell’s written response.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


I’ve not had much problem (hopefully this blog won't cause that to change) with anonymous posts to this blog. Actually, there once was a newspaper in California, which hosted a full page of anonymous “letters to the editor,” and I was the subject of one such anonymous pithy epistle. Actually, I was so proud of that anonymous letter that I framed it, and it’s on my wall at home today. Sometimes one is best defined by their enemies.

That said, I have nothing but contempt for those who post nasty, hurtful - and often libelous - comments to online newspaper articles or online television reports or to anything else. These people are too cowardly to put their name where their comment is.
Anonymity for good purpose, however, can have its place. For example, anonymous “whistleblowers’ oft times have done a world of good in the workplace. Likewise, helpful investigative journalism would suffer if it were not for anonymous sources. Legitimate anonymity is a far cry from vicious comments posted on-line by unidentified (except, perhaps by a goofy avatar) and cowardly provocateurs.

Commercial entities - newspapers, television stations, etc. - which publish anonymous on-line comments likely do so in the name of profit, without sufficient concern that a lot of people are undeservedly hurt. Several courts have ruled that “shield laws” that protect journalists and their sources, also shield writers who post anonymous on-line comments. That seems a bit of a stretch, but stretching isn’t uncommon in too many courts nowadays.

Whatever, I’m an advocate our First Amendment right to free speech, even when hurtful speech comes from cowards.

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