Legislature(2001 - 2002)
03/21/2001 04:36 PM RLS
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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.