A bill to ensure hunters have access to federal land was blocked in the U.S. Senate yesterday, even though nearly half the Senate had co-sponsored it. Sen. Lisa Murkowski crafted the bill with Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. Murkowski was spitting nails after the bill was derailed in another round of an ongoing Senate fight over whether to allow amendments. In this case, amendments about gun control.
“I am frustrated. I am angry. I’m ticked,” Murkowski fumed this evening.
Murkowski says she and Hagan always said senators would have a chance to add in their home state issues on the Senate floor, because the bill didn’t go through any committees. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, though, blocked any changes. Murkowski and other sponsors, particularly the Republicans, then voted to prevent their own bill from advancing.
“If you’re going to be kind of Lucy with the football here, that’s just not acceptable,” Murkowski says.
Reid blames Republicans, saying they couldn’t agree among themselves on amendments. Murkowski, though, says Reid was getting pressure from fellow Democrats to add gun control measures. Vulnerable Democrats running for re-election would be put in a tough spot.
“To avoid kind of the breakdown within his own conference, he just decided the safest thing to do is have no amendments at all,” Murkowski says.
Alaska Sen. Mark Begich co-sponsored the bill and said he was disappointed amendments weren’t allowed. The bill would have kept federal land open to hunting and fishing unless specifically closed. It also made it easier to get duck stamps, and precluded the EPA from ever regulating lead ammunition and tackle.
- The Utah man accused of killing his wife aboard a cruise ship in Southeast Alaska is scheduled to appear for an arraignment hearing 10 a.m. Wednesday.
- More than 50 pilots and flight attendants picketed Monday afternoon in front of Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. Their goal was to call on Alaska Airlines management to give them what they view as fairer wages and benefits.
- Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said being unaffiliated has helped him and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott work on issues without concern about party politics.
- The state has pushed back the bid deadline for the ferry Taku – again. That’s because a potential buyer wants more time.