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