HJR 21: Commemorating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage.

00                       HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 21                                                                     
01 Commemorating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage.                                                                
02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                               
03       WHEREAS, at the time of ratification, the Constitution of the United States did not                           
04 define the limits of suffrage, deferring the establishment of voter qualifications to the states;                       
05 and                                                                                                                     
06 WHEREAS, in 1878, United States Senator Aaron Sargent introduced an amendment                                         
07 to the Constitution of the United States, known colloquially as the "Anthony Amendment"                                 
08 after women's suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony, that would have prohibited states and the                             
09 federal government from denying suffrage to citizens of the United States based on sex, but                             
10 that was ultimately defeated in the United States Senate; and                                                           
11 WHEREAS, after the United States Congress established the Territory of Alaska                                         
12 through the Second Organic Act of 1912, the first legislative action by the First Alaska                                
13 Territorial Legislature was to recognize the right of women to vote. House Bill No. 2, An Act                           
14 to Extend the Elective Franchise to Women in the Territory of Alaska, was signed into law                               
15 March 21, 1913--seven years before a similar law would be enacted at the federal level; and                             
16       WHEREAS, 41 years after United States Senator Aaron Sargent introduced the                                      
01 "Anthony Amendment," following significant political gains made by women's suffrage                                     
02 advocates such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucy Stone, among others,                               
03 a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote was again introduced by                                     
04 President Woodrow Wilson in a special session of the United States Congress and ratified a                              
05 year later in 1920 after narrowly achieving the necessary support of three-fourths of the states,                       
06 with Tennessee being the last state to vote in the affirmative; and                                                     
07 WHEREAS, with the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of                                         
08 the United States, women's suffrage was achieved in the United States, allowing countless                               
09 women across the nation and in the state to contribute to the body of legislation in the interest                       
10 of improving their respective states, the nation, and the world; and                                                    
11 WHEREAS, in 1936, Representative Nell Scott was the first female legislator elected                                   
12 to the Alaska Territorial House of Representatives, becoming the first female legislator in                             
13 Alaska's history; and                                                                                                   
14 WHEREAS, in 1949, Senator Anita Garnick was the first woman elected to the                                            
15 Alaska Territorial Senate; and                                                                                          
16 WHEREAS, in 1959, Representative Blanche McSmith was appointed to the House                                           
17 of Representatives by Governor Bill Egan, serving in that body as the first female African                              
18 American legislator; and                                                                                                
19 WHEREAS, in 1959, Representative Helen Fisher, Representative Blanche McSmith,                                        
20 Representative Doris Sweeny, and Senator Irene Ryan became the first women elected to                                   
21 serve in the First Alaska State Legislature following the proclamation of Alaska as a state in                          
22 1959; and                                                                                                               
23 WHEREAS, in 1987, Senator Jan Faiks became the first woman to serve as President                                      
24 of the Senate; and                                                                                                      
25 WHEREAS, in 1993, Senator Georgianna Lincoln became the first Alaska Native                                           
26 woman elected to the Senate and Representative Ramona Barnes was elected as the first                                   
27 female Speaker of the House of Representatives; and                                                                     
28 WHEREAS, in 1994, Fran Ulmer was elected as the first female lieutenant governor                                      
29 of the state; and                                                                                                       
30 WHEREAS, in 2000, Senator Bettye Davis became the first African American                                              
31 woman elected to the Senate; and                                                                                        
01       WHEREAS, in 2002, United States Senator Lisa Murkowski became the first woman                                   
02 from the state to be appointed and later elected to the United States Senate; and                                       
03       WHEREAS, in 2006, Sarah Palin was elected as the state's first female governor and                              
04 in 2008 was chosen to be republican presidential nominee John McCain's running mate,                                    
05 making history again as the first person from the state to run on a presidential ticket; and                            
06       WHEREAS, in 2019, 23 female legislators serve in the Thirty-First Alaska State                                  
07 Legislature, the largest proportion of women lawmakers in the state's history; and                                      
08       WHEREAS, in 2019, the Dunleavy administration has appointed an unprecedented                                    
09 number of women to historically male-held roles in the executive branch;                                                
10 BE IT RESOLVED that on this 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in the United                                       
11 States, the Thirty-First Alaska State Legislature requests that the Lieutenant Governor                                 
12 coordinate recognition and commemorative events throughout the period leading up to and                                 
13 during the 100th anniversary year of 2020 to celebrate the great strides made by women since                            
14 the establishment of women's suffrage, and specifically celebrate the state's rich history in                           
15 empowering women as equal members of society.