JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A proposal from an Anchorage lawmaker would allow for teachers or other permanent school employees to carry concealed guns on campus “for defensive use.”
HB55, from Republican Rep. Bob Lynn, would allow public districts and private schools to adopt written policies spelling out the circumstances under which firearms could be possessed and used. The proposal, released Friday, would allow for permanent employees, such as teachers and administrators, to carry concealed weapons if they have a permit and have completed training.
The bill comes after the deadly school shooting in Connecticut last month that has spurred a national debate about school security and gun control. It was among 18 bills released Friday, which were filed ahead of the start of the legislative session that begins Tuesday. The first batch of prefiled bills was released Monday.
Lynn, in an interview, said with “all the craziness” going on around the country, he thought it was a good idea to let districts make a choice on how to protect their schools. “I think it’s a local issue. I don’t think we at the state level ought to mandate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the issue,” Lynn said, calling the proposal a “freedom of choice bill.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, six states allow people who are licensed to carry concealed weapons into public schools in certain circumstances.
Also filed Friday was a measure aimed at addressing oil and gas taxes. Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, said his proposal, HB51, would lower the oil and gas corporate income tax rate and require separate accounting of oil industry profits, doing away with a method that Seaton has said lets companies essentially write off less profitable or not profitable international or domestic investment against their Alaska investment. The measure would also cap the progressive surcharge triggered when a company’s production tax value hits $30 a barrel and address tax credits.
Seaton, in a sponsor statement, said the proposal targets the boards of directors of oil companies, who make investment decisions, by making adjustments to make the tax system more competitive. He said it also maintains the current basic structure of the system to maintain stability.
Some of the recently filed bills, released this week, sound familiar.
Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake, has tried for the past several years to advance legislation that would expand Alaskans’ right to use deadly force as a means of self-defense. He’s trying again this session, with HB24. Debate over his proposal last year came as “Stand Your Ground” laws were thrust into the national spotlight following the deadly shooting of a Florida teenager.
Both Neuman and Sen. Charlie Huggins, R-Wasilla, have proposed legislation aimed at helping advance the Knik Arm Bridge. Supporters say a bridge connecting Anchorage to land near Point MacKenzie would create new opportunities for economic development and could pay for itself. But questions were raised by lawmakers last year about the project and obligation to the state.
Reps. Eric Feige, R-Chickaloon, and Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage, have each filed measures requiring that parties seeking to halt resource extraction or construction projects post a security. Feige had a similar bill during the last session.
Rep. Wes Keller, R-Wasilla, is taking another try at a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow public money to be used for private schools. The proposal last year stalled in the House and was a companion to a bill that would have allowed state-sponsored scholarships for students to attend private schools.
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