Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/20/1997 08:05 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SB 77 - ALASKA DAY OF PRAYER                                                
 The first order of business to come before the House State Affairs            
 Standing Committee was SB 77, "An Act relating to the Alaska Day of           
 CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called on Mr. Joe Ambrose, Legislative                  
 Assistant to Senator Robin Taylor, sponsor, to present the bill.              
 Number 0136                                                                   
 JOE AMBROSE, Legislative Assistant to Senator Robin Taylor, read              
 the following sponsor statement into the record:                              
 "In 1952, the US Congress resolved that a National Day of Prayer be           
 established, with the specific date subject to Presidential                   
 proclamation.  On May 5, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into            
 law a bill setting aside the first Thursday in May each year as the           
 National Day of Prayer.                                                       
 "Senate Bill 77 would also mark the first Thursday in May as the              
 Alaska Day of Prayer.                                                         
 "Observance of a Day of Prayer is as old as the nation itself and             
 in fact pre-dates the Declaration of Independence.  George                    
 Washington first proclaimed a day of prayer in 1775, during the               
 First Continental Congress.                                                   
 "Thomas Jefferson, who termed the First Amendment `a wall of                  
 separation between church and state', said he was convinced that a            
 man's natural right to religious expression was not in opposition             
 to his political function.                                                    
 "Establishment of a Day of Prayer in Alaska follows a tradition               
 dating back to the Founding Fathers.  It would encourage Alaskans             
 to pray without compelling them to do so."                                    
 Number 0257                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ETHAN BERKOWITZ asked Mr. Ambrose if any other                 
 states had adopted a state day of prayer to complement the national           
 Number 0265                                                                   
 MR. AMBROSE replied seven states had adopted a state day of prayer.           
 In addition, many stated observed the day through an annual                   
 proclamation.  The Alaska Senate two years ago passed a resolution            
 asking the Governor to declare the first Thursday in May as the day           
 of prayer in Alaska.                                                          
 Number 0324                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked Mr. Ambrose if there was any                   
 particular reason why the state needed a day of prayer when there             
 was a national day?                                                           
 Number 0331                                                                   
 MR. AMBROSE replied it would put a special emphasis on the day and            
 it would bring Alaskans together.                                             
 Number 0348                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON commented that he believed it should be              
 the second Thursday in May because by that time the body would need           
 it more than the first Thursday in May.                                       
 CHAIR JAMES called for a motion to pass the bill out of the                   
 Number 0378                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON moved that SB 77 move from the committee            
 with individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal                  
 note(s).  There was no objection, SB 77 was so moved from the House           
 State Affairs Standing Committee.                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON stated, for the record, that he had stepped on           
 the presenter's toes, literally; not figuratively, and apologized.            

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