House votes to censure Rep. Eastman despite opposition from Chugiak-Eagle River representatives

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 17:38
  • Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, issues an apology for his comments last week on abortion while other House lawmakers listen. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

The Alaska House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to censure Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, for his recent comments claiming that some rural Alaska women become deliberately pregnant, and others delay abortions so they can get a “free to trip to Seattle” with Medicaid funds.

The 25-14 vote, brought by Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage, means little on its own. It’s a stern statement that the subject of the motion has done something wrong and is worthy of discipline.

“There is nothing punitive beyond a rebuke of his statements,” Spohnholz said.

Chugiak-Eagle River area representatives Dan Saddler, Lora Reinbold and Cathy Tilton were among 14 House Republicans who voted against the measure.

“We risk going down a dangerous road of censuring people for what they think,” said Saddler, who represents Eagle River and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Eight Republicans joined 15 Democrats and two independents in voting for censure.

Wednesday’s action was unprecedented for the Legislature, which has typically worked through its ethics committees and processes.

According to the Legislature’s reference librarians and the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Alaska House has never censured one of its members before.

It was the first time the Legislature has censured any lawmaker on its own since 1994, when the Senate censured Sen. George Jacko after an ethics investigation found Jacko abused his office to seek sexual favors from legislative staff.

In 1997, the House voted to sanction (a lower level of discipline) Rep. Jerry Sanders after he sent a political mailing at government expense, then refused to work with the Legislature’s citizen-led ethics panel.

Read more at the Juneau Empire.

Motion to censure Rep. Eastman

Yeas - 25

Rep. Matt Claman, R-Anchorage

Rep. Harriet Drummond, D-Anchorage

Rep. Bryce Edgmon, R-Dillingham

Rep. Zach Fansler, D-Bethel

Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome

Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage

Rep. Jason Grenn, I-Anchorage

Rep. David Guttenberg, D-Fairbanks

Rep. Delena Johnson, R-Palmer

Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage

Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks

Rep. Sam Kito, D-Juneau

Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Soldotna

Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka

Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage

Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan

Rep. Justin Parish, D-Juneau

Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer

Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage

Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak

Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage

Rep. Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks

Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage

Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kotzebue

Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks

Nays - 14

Rep. Chris Birch, R-Anchorage

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla

Rep. Jennifer Johnston, R-Anchorage

Rep. Chuck Kopp, R-Anchorage

Rep. Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage

Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake

Rep. Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage

Rep. George Rauscher, R-Palmer

Rep. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River

Rep. Dan Sadler, R-Eagle River

Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, R-Wasilla

Rep. Dave Talerico, R-Healy

Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla

Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole

Excused - 1

Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski

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