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, March 31, 2009


The distribution of ashes from Mount Redoubt volcano, a hundred miles from Anchorage, should remind thinking people that mankind isn’t in control of everything that happens, or could happen. The eruptions of Redoubt are an Act of God - or “Mother Nature,” if that anthromorphized pseudonym for God makes one more comfortable. Whatever one calls it, it surely should make us humble as a tiny entity in the total scheme of the universe. There’s an infinite Power “out there” that all of us must bow to. A wise - and humble - person understands and accepts that.

In the Old Testament, ashes were a sign of humility. The sign remains today, especially on Ash Wednesday at the beginning of Lent when ashes are placed on a believer’s forehead, and the priest solemnly reminds us, "Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return." The Ash Wednesday distribution of ashes is a sober reminder of mortality from an ancient ceremony relating to events beyond our control. Perhaps volcanic distribution of ash should do the same.

We are fortunate today. Human intelligence (A Gift from “Mother Nature”) has learned how to provide better warnings of impending disasters. Even so, we can’t control volcanic eruptions and ashfall or, for that matter, control much else – including meteor impacts, earthly warming and cooling cycles, earthquakes, or the beautiful aurora borealis. Acts of God do make life interesting. The inhabitants of Pompeii had little warning when Mt Vesuvius spewed ash on its victims in the year 79AD. But today we can make educated guesses about which way volcanic ash is likely to travel. And we can prepare for it, to some degree. We’ve come a long long way in the last 1,930 years!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Had a great time this Saturday morning at the Juneau Gun Club. It was the 11th Annual Legislative Shoot. About fifteen three person teams competed in rifle, shotgun, pistol, and archery. Teams included the Misfires, the Munoz Militia, Gone Ballistic, Ladies Lock and Load, Clear Miss, the Seaton Shooters, and Shake and Bake. My team (See photo)was the Lynn Street Gang: my staffer Dirk Moffatt, Matt Johnston from Rep. Wes Keller’s office, and me.

There’s a limit to “legislative transparency” when it comes to shooting scores. Merely let it be reported that our Lynn Street Gang scored respectfully in the “middle of the pack.” For me, archery was a disaster (when I did the archery event, the safest place in the room would have been holding the target).
However, I did score 91 in pistol competition with a good grouping. First time I’ve fired in any kind of competition in over forty years, so I’m fairly pleased.

We all fired the Glock 40 pistol. First time I ever fired it. What a great piece! I’d like to add it to my Colt 44 Magnum, and the Colt .38 from my police days. I’m looking forward to next year’s match.

Friday, March 27, 2009


We successfully passed HB6 out of the House Judiciary Committee last week. My bill, entitled “Animal Cruelty,” was really more about helping protect children and other vulnerable people from sexual abuse than the title implies. It was a tough bill to present in an appropriate manner, because the subject matter made people uncomfortable, and understandably so.

The AP story has gained state, national, and even international attention from media outlets that include: Yahoo News, MSNBC, Chicago Sentinel,, Huffington Post, Taiwan News, Boston Herald, New York Post, Arizona Star, Guardian (Great Britain), Minneapolis Star Tribune, and all the Alaska papers.

The following Associated Press (AP) article reports the bill (HB6):

Anne Sutton/The Associated Press
Used by permission of the Associated Press Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

JUNEAU, Alaska - State lawmaker Bob Lynn said he was compelled to introduce a bill outlawing sex with an animal after he read a news story last April about a 26-year-old Klawock man.
The man was spotted by a local woman coaxing a Labrador retriever, a local family's pet, into the woods near a ball field. There he allegedly tied it to a tree, taped its muzzle shut with duct tape and had sex with it, witnesses told police at the time.

It's a subject that makes many people uncomfortable and elicits a lot of nervous jokes, but for the people in this Southeast Alaska community of 800 people, it was no laughing matter, said Klawock Mayor Don Marvin at a Friday hearing on the bill.

"When this incident happened, we had a community that was scared," Marvin said. The man was a registered sex offender who had been twice convicted of raping a young boy. More recently he had served probation for assault after lunging at a child. And while the incident with the dog was reported to the police, Marvin said nothing happened for two days while fearful parents escorted their children home from school.

The state has no law against such an attack, and Ketchikan District Attorney James Scott eventually charged the man with two counts of criminal mischief, which was later changed to a theft charge. In requesting a $10,000 bail, Scott told the court that the state was concerned that if a small child had been available and unattended that day, "the small child would have been found taped (and) tied in the woods."

Lynn, an Anchorage Republican, wants to make Alaska the 36th state to ban bestiality by expanding the state's animal cruelty law to include sexual conduct. His bill would make the offense a class A misdemeanor that's punishable by up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.

The measure is backed by the Department of Corrections, the Alaska Farm Bureau, the Humane Society of the United States and the Alaska Peace Officers Association.

Rachel Dzuiba, a veterinarian at the Gastineau Humane Society in Juneau, said it would not only protect animals but also protect the public against a cycle of abuse and violence.
"The act of forcing a living creature to engage in a sexual activity without the ability of consent cannot simply be viewed as a personal choice - no more than forcing a child or an impaired adult would be," Dzuiba told the House Judiciary Committee.

The society's executive director, Chava Lee, said she has received several complaints at the Juneau animal shelter about sexual deviancy against animals. "In each case that has come to my attention, coercion, abuse, threat of physical harm or terrorizing a human during the practice of a sexual assault on an animal was present," Lee said.

According to the national Humane Society, several studies highlight the link between the sexual assault of animals and sex crimes against humans, including:

- FBI research on the backgrounds of serial sexual homicide perpetrators that uncovered high rates of sexual assault of animals,

- A report in the Journal of Forensic Psychiatry that said twenty percent of children who sexually abuse other children also have histories of sexually abusing animals,

- A Utah State University study showing 37 percent of sexually violent juvenile offenders have a history of animal sexual assault.

The committee also heard testimony from Klawock Chief of Police Cullen Fowler who said the dog that had been allegedly assaulted did not require veterinary care but appeared to have suffered. Fowler said the pressure of the taped muzzle cause blood vessels to burst in its eyes and the dog was sensitive to the touch, jumpy and afraid for a long time after the incident.

Lynn's aide, Mike Sica, said the bill is modeled on a law in Washington state. Criminal classifications and punishments vary widely among the states that outlaw bestiality.

In Nebraska, "indecency with an animal" is a class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and three months in jail. But Rhode Island punishes what it terms an "abominable and detestable crime against nature" with seven to 20 years in jail.

Though no one testified against the bill, several committee members had concerns. Rep. Lindsay Holmes, D-Anchorage, said she was worried that someone could be charged with encouraging the crime when they were merely joking and no one was hurt. She asked the Department of Law to study the matter.

The bill goes next to the House Finance Committee, though the Department of Law said it would not result in an additional cost to the state. The bill is House Bill 6.”

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I’ve never ducked tough issues or tough votes, and I’m not going to start now. So let it be known. If I have an opportunity to do so on the House floor, I’ll vote “Yes” on the legislative pay raise.

Considering the major issues legislators consider, the special interest high power “tough guys” we must often rein in, responsibilities we bear, and the votes we cast that affects every man, woman, and child in Alaska - and the brickbats thrown at us, both deserved and undeserved - our current $24,012 a year salary is ridiculous. It’s less than the pay of an Army corporal with 6 years service.

Yes, everyone elected to public office is a volunteer, and we campaign hard to get and keep our jobs. We like our jobs and want to advance our issues, or we wouldn’t try to remain in office. The Good Book instructs us, “the laborer is worth his hire.” We needn’t be timid about standing up and being counted.

All the legislators I know, whether I agree with their political views or not, work hard long hours in Juneau to represent their constituents as best they can. Checkout my blog entry for February 17th, 2009, that chronicles my daily legislative work for about three weeks. This kind of schedule is typical for most legislators. I usually arrive at the capitol by 8:00AM, and don’t leave until about 6 or 7. Like most lawmakers, I also do legislative work at “home” at the motel, to be ready for the next day. No complaints, just fact. As we used to say in the military, “We knew the risk when we joined up”!

The per diem part of legislative remuneration also needs fixing. As for the “short term” per diem we receive when we work in Juneau, legislators must maintain two households and have incidental expenses we wouldn’t have at home. “Long term” per diem, which we receive when serving back in our home districts, needs fixing too - and the best way to fix it is to raise base salary and eliminate controversial long term per diem. Yes, I do have an office account. It costs money to print and mail newsletters to 12,000 people, even though I personally do my own writing and graphic layout.

A state compensation commission acted independently of legislators in arriving at their recommendation for reasonable and fair salary for legislators. There was no conflict of interest. No elected official is comfortable accepting a higher salary for themselves, especially with bad national economic bad news in every day’s headlines. But it does make sense to follow reasonable recommendations.

Therefore, if the raise comes to the vote on the House floor (and I think it should) I’ll vote “Yes” to accept the recommendations. If the pay raise issue doesn’t come to a floor vote, for whatever reason, at least you’ll know I had the guts to tell you how I would have voted. Do I put on my helmet and flak vest now, or later?

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Welcome to our new Alaska House of Representative bloggers: Representatives Kyle Johnansen, Alan Austerman, Charisse Millet They join Rep. John Coghill and me in the legislative blogosphere. Congratulations!

Please check out all of our blogs. Together, the blogs will give you a better understanding of legislative events and issues, as well insight into each of us us as individuals. Blog addresses are:

Friday, March 20, 2009


Congratulations to my grandson Ethan Andrew Lynn. He just won Third Place at his 75 pound class Intermediate Wrestling Tournament in Wasilla. Ethan is part of the “younger” Lynn family in Anchorage, along with his brother Simon – another fine wrestler. He attends Rabbit Creek School.

Photo shows Ethan wearing his medal, along with my proud daughter-in-law Ann Lynn, a teacher at Goldenview Middle School. Taking the photo (so not-in-the-photo) is Ethan’s dad John Lynn, a teacher at South High.

Friday, March 13, 2009


The Parental Consent bill (HB35) passed out of our House Judiciary Committee today on a 5-2 vote. Voting “Yes” were Representatives Coghill, Ramras, Lynn, Dahlstrom, Gatto. Voting “No” were Representatives Gruenberg and Holm. The bill was sponsored by Representative John Coghill, and co-sponsored by Representatives Lynn, Neuman, Keller, Dahlstrom, Millett, Kelly, Harris, Wilson, Ramras, Gatto, and Johansen. Next destination for hearings on the parental consent bill is the House Finance Committee. Three of us on the Judiciary Committee made final speeches before the vote. My speech follows:

“Mr. Chairman: There’s been a lot of testimony on this bill, and that’s good. I want to thank Chair Ramras and Vice-Chair Dahlstrom for how well they conducted this hearing. It could have been a ‘zoo,’ but it wasn’t. Thanks also to everyone who testified, whatever their position.

Listening to the testimony, it was as if those who testified live in separate and parallel universes, each speaking a language incomprehensible to the other.

Those in the universe who support this bill - and that includes me - believe children are a Gift from God entrusted to parents for their care. We believe parents need parental rights to fulfill parental responsibilities, and believe family is the cultural bedrock foundation of society. Most parents will acknowledge they are imperfect. But parents don’t have to be perfect to be good parents who want the best of health and safety of their children. Likewise, kids don’t have to be perfect to be good kids. Those in this universe believe government, specifically the Judiciary, has abrogated parental rights and, in the process - like I said at Governor Palin’s Press Conference - committed ‘aggravated assault’ on parental rights with a 3-2 vote.

Then there’s the other parallel universe which, I confess I fail to comprehend - because I’m firmly in the parental rights universe.

But as near as I do understand this other universe - based on what I heard during testimony - there's an obsession with so-called ‘abortion rights’ - the right of anyone to abort, whatever their age, whatever the circumstances, with or without parental consent. Parents are an inconvenience, at best. Throughout the testimony, the mantra of this universe was ‘my body, my, body, my body’ with no apparent concept whatsoever, that two bodies involved - or more, if baby twins are involved. The mantra has been abortion rights, with no concept or notion whatever of parental rights and responsibilities. It’s a parallel universe foreign to me.

To me, parental rights extend far beyond the subject of this bill. Children aren’t supposed to belong to the government. The bottom line in my universe is that children are, in fact, a Gift from God to parents - not the property of Washington DC, or Juneau, or this Legislature, and certainly not the Judiciary.

My heart goes out to teenagers who find themselves in unintended pregnancy situations, but this is the time kids may need parents most. Yes, I’m Pro-Life. Yes, I’m anti-abortion. But this bill is really about parental rights. I’ll be voting "Yes.”

Monday, March 09, 2009


I got my “Spring Ahead Vitamin” today from moving the clock ahead last night before bedtime. What a difference an hour makes. Really makes me feel good. The sun was brightly shining today in Juneau (headline news), and I celebrated the extra daylight with a mini-photo expedition on Douglas Island (across the bridge from Juneau). Nothing relaxes me more than photo hunting!

Yes, I know there’s a bill in the works to eliminate Daylight Savings Time. Our State Affairs Committee heard a similar bill a few years back. I wasn’t the Chair of the committee at that time - thank goodness. We address lots of controversial issues down here, and Daylight Savings Time is one of them. When we hear the bill, I’ll put on my helmet and flak vest.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


The Republican House Majority in Juneau issued the following Press Release this afternoon:

"Thursday, March 05, 2009, Juneau, Alaska – Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, plans to file legislation Monday setting standards for post-conviction DNA testing. Alaska currently is one of only six states without such laws.

'A wrongfully convicted person means two things: one, a guilty person is still on our streets, and two, our state has committed an injustice to the person in prison,' Lynn said. 'Both are unacceptable.'

The Supreme Court of the United States is considering the constitutionality of a state refusing post-conviction DNA testing, and Rep. Lynn thinks it’s time to prepare for a ruling. 'It’s prudent to have a bill ready pending a Court decision so we can take action to enhance public safety and promote justice,' Lynn said.

The bill being filed will likely be modified by Rep. Lynn before its first committee hearing, as more research is conducted, and the Court makes a ruling. 'We don’t want someone to abuse our laws to escape just punishment,' Lynn said. 'But at the same time, we must craft a system that serves both justice and the wrongfully convicted.'

The proposed legislation may be read across the Alaska State House floor as early as Monday, at which time, committee referrals will be given." #### End of Press Release.

Personal comment: Get the guilty into jail. Get the innocent out of jail. Well, duh!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Its common sense for Alaska to send a strong legislative delegation to the Energy Council in Washington DC, whatever times of the year the Council meets. Alaska is a top energy producing state. Alaska’s top sources of revenue used to be oil and Senator Ted Stevens – but now it’s only oil. Hopefully, natural gas flowing through a pipeline to the Lower 48 will someday be an additional major source of revenue to Alaska.

A strong and visible presence at the Energy Council - and face-to-face meetings with national leaders - is critical to Alaska’s future. It amazes me anyone would choose to mischaracterize the Energy Council, and our legislators being there, but politics itself is an amazing thing.

Not everyone in the legislature is in Washington DC is doing work at the Energy Council. I’m here in Juneau working on current legislation, preparing important new legislation I’ll be filing next week, and contacting constituents. I’ve been appointed as an Alternate Delegate to the Energy Council, and may attend next year. I support my colleagues at the Energy Council as they work hard toward getting our gas pipeline built, opening ANWR, and bringing other energy issues to national visibility.

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