Protect Local Control

Ensuring Community Rights
To Pass Smokefree Ordinances

News Summary

Reality Check w/ John Tracy: How an Alaska lawmaker killed a popular health initiative

Publication Date: 2016-04-21
  • Author:John Tracy
  • Publication:

...It also had the support of more than a thousand Alaska businesses and organizations like the Alaska Federation of Natives, and the healthcare community.

Polls show nearly 70 percent of Alaskans approve of smoke-free workplaces, including a majority of smokers.

The bill seemed poised for passage, winning passage through three Senate committees and passing the full Senate in a 15 to 5 vote.

But, in the House it ran into East Anchorage Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux.

LeDoux chairs the House Judiciary Committee. Why the bill was assigned to Judiciary is one of those iceberg decisions that happen below the surface.

LeDoux refused to hold a hearing on the bill, telling the Alaska Dispatch News she thought smoke-free laws should be decided at the local level.

This is an artfully deceptive response. There are a lot of places in Alaska like the Mat-Su, Kenai Peninsula and Fairbanks North Star Boroughs which don’t have the legal authority to impose local restrictions...