On our May 14 episode of Alaska’s most listened-to political podcast, Casey Reynolds and Forrest Dunbar discuss the hot political issues of the day– James Comey’s dismissal, the state budget, the legislative session as it careens towards overtime, the Real ID bill, and the censure of Rep. David Eastman. Casey and Forrest are also joined by a surprise guest this week. Former legislative staffer and UAA student Genevieve Mina tells us about her experience as a young person in Juneau during the legislative session. We greatly appreciate Genevieve being available on short notice, after an extended House floor session on Saturday prevented our previously-scheduled guest from making it on the program.
This idea of providing Alaskans a real choice on their relationship between their personal data and the government was at the heart of HB 74 as it made its way through the state house. Unfortunately, that choice was effectively stripped out of bill when the House Finance Committee overhauled the legislation on Tuesday by adding provisions mandating the DMV scan and store applicants’ pictures, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other personal documents, and share our personal information including up to 5 digits of our social security numbers with a private multi-state database as mandated by Real ID. This would be true for both Alaskans that opt into Real ID and those who don’t.
The legislative session shows no sign of ending anytime soon and those interested in running for Governor in 2018 can’t start raising money for another month, but that isn’t stopping speculation about whether the current occupant of the office, Governor Bill Walker, will run again and who might run against him.
If Trump and the GOP-controlled congress can’t dismantle Obamacare as they have promised to do for years, they could face a combination of that “bloodbath” backlash — or at least a depressed turnout — from their rank-and-file conservative base while simultaneously raising the profile of the issue and handing Gov. Walker a powerful and popular issue to run on.