Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/21/2001 04:36 PM RLS

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HJR 22-DIVERSE COMMUNITY/CONDEMN HATE CRIMES                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOTT  announced that the  committee would continue  to hear                                                               
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 22, Relating to  a diverse community;                                                               
condemning  a recent  racially motivated  attack; and  requesting                                                               
the  Municipality of  Anchorage  police department  to conduct  a                                                               
conclusive  investigation and  to take  rapid action  against the                                                               
perpetrators.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE  IRVIN,  Vice  President,  Alaska  Federation  of  Natives                                                               
(AFN), said  that AFN likes  the proposed  amendments encompassed                                                               
in the  committee substitute  (CS), version  LS0742\O, Luckhaupt,                                                               
3/21/01, because  it strengthens  the resolution.   He clarified,                                                               
"It strengthens the joint resolution  not only in terms of simply                                                               
language and  force, but in terms  of a concern expressed  by the                                                               
state  legislature, the  House of  Representatives, for  what has                                                               
gone on  and specific steps  that ought to  be taken in  order to                                                               
remedy it."  Mr. Irvin referred  to page 1, line 13, which places                                                               
responsibility  on  Anchorage  to  assume a  leadership  role  in                                                               
building  a climate  of tolerance,  et cetera.   Furthermore,  he                                                               
said, "I liked very much the  fact that the nature of the problem                                                               
of racism in  Alaska and particularly anti-Native  racism has ...                                                               
not  been shirked  by this  resolution.   The overall  resolution                                                               
encourages  me.    That  the  state  legislature  is  taking  its                                                               
responsibility  because  it's  not  mincing words  here  ....  It                                                               
really does express a legitimate and sincere concern."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. IRVIN emphasized  that he was pleased with  the language that                                                               
joins  the legislature  with AFN  in  the request  to the  United                                                               
States Civil Rights  Commission to really review  the question of                                                               
race  relations in  Alaska.   That review  is something  that has                                                               
been wanted  by Native groups  as well as other  minority groups,                                                               
although it  hasn't been if  the forefront  of the minds  of non-                                                               
Native  urban majority.   Mr.  Irvin indicated  that many  of the                                                               
citizens  of Alaska  are shocked  by such  an incident,  although                                                               
those that are  black, Native, Pacific Islander,  or Hispanic may                                                               
not  be surprised.    He  said, "This  is  something that  Native                                                               
people  live  with  on  a  daily  basis.    Sometimes  it's  very                                                               
dangerous and  destructive ....    The fact  is that there  is an                                                               
undercurrent   of   racial  animosity,   misunderstandings,   and                                                               
ignorance that runs through a lot  of Alaska.  It has been driven                                                               
below the surface  by political correctness in the  last 30 years                                                               
or so,  but it's right there."   Mr. Irvin was  encouraged by the                                                               
language  [in  the  CS],  which   seems  to  take  this  serious.                                                               
Furthermore,  the language  illustrates that  [the state]  is not                                                               
afraid  for someone  to  come in  and review  this  problem.   In                                                               
conclusion, Mr.  Irvin encouraged the adoption  of the amendments                                                               
encompassed in the CS.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOTT asked if Mr. Irvin had viewed the video recording.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  IRVIN  answered   that  he  had  viewed   the  entire  video                                                               
recording.   He  said,  "When  you see  the  real  tape, the  raw                                                               
footage with all of its  vulgarity and obscenity, it'll knock you                                                               
back.   It's really  quite something,  not only  in terms  of the                                                               
violence against  people but the  attitude.  Above all  that, the                                                               
language is really something."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOTT related his belief  that the presentation of the video                                                               
recording went  a long way  to educate  the public of  this major                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. IRVIN agreed.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved to adopt  CSHJR 22, version O, as the                                                               
working  document   before  the   committee.    There   being  no                                                               
objection, CSHJR 22, version O, was before the committee.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOTT  noted that the  committee members should have  a copy                                                               
of the CS with the new language highlighted.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE moved to report  CSHJR 22, version LS0742\O,                                                               
Luckhaupt,   3/21/01,   out    of   committee   with   individual                                                               
recommendations  and the  accompanying zero  fiscal note.   There                                                               
being no  objection, CSHJR  22(RLS) was  reported from  the House                                                               
Rules Standing Committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOTT announced that CSHJR 22(RLS) will be on tomorrow's                                                                   
calendar.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE thanked Speaker Porter and the committee                                                                   
for indulging him with the amendments.  He also thanked AFN for                                                                 
being available.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOTT thanked Mr. Irvin for his comments.  He emphasized                                                                   
the importance of this issue and bringing AFN "into the fold" in                                                                
order to hear their views.                                                                                                      

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