Privacy, schools amoung early bills

Posted: Sunday, January 09, 2000

Two bills to protect privacy will face legislators this year. Lawmakers will also be looking at a proposal to let people teach in rural Alaska before they complete a teacher certification program.

Those are among 34 new bills and resolutions introduced so far this year. In addition, about 400 bills and resolutions are still left to be dealt with from last year's session.

Rep. Beth Kerttula, a Juneau Democrat, is introducing House Bill 273, which would keep Internet service providers from sharing information about their subscribers without the subscribers' permission.

``I think it's necessary for privacy rights,'' Kerttula said. ``It's really intrusive to me to have a company be able to monitor what you're doing on the Internet and then sell it to a broad range of people . . . . I just think people have a right to know that's happening and decide whether they want it to happen or not.''

Rep. Eric Croft, an Anchorage Democrat, will be pushing another privacy protection bill.

House Bill 278 outlines strict rules for how genetic information is to be handled, puts restrictions on employers' use of electronic monitoring to oversee their workers and prevents businesses from sharing information about customers without the customers' consent.

``I think across the political spectrum, conservative to liberal, there's a respect for privacy,'' Croft said in a recent interview from Anchorage. ``I think we can build some interesting coalitions here.''

Rep. Andrew Halcro, an Anchorage Republican, also has several bills he's pushing this year, including one that would address a shortage of certified teachers in rural Alaska.

House Bill 271 would allow people with bachelor's degrees to teach in rural schools for up to three years while they're finishing their teacher certification requirements.

They could only teach in schools where the Department of Education has certified there is a teacher shortage. The department could require some minimum training requirements of such teachers.

Other new bills and resolutions released to the public Friday include:

House Bill 279 by Halcro, which would require state employees to use frequent flyer airline miles for subsequent state travel.

House Bill 269 by North Pole Republican Rep. Gene Therriault, which would initiate an 18-month pilot project in which interviews with children who may have been abused or neglected would be videotaped. A report on how the project worked would be made to the legislature.

Senate Joint Resolution 30 by Wrangell Republican Sen. Robin Taylor would have Alaskans vote on a constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to repeal regulations adopted by a state agency.

House Bill 280 by Homer Republican Rep. Gail Phillips would establish the Alaska International Airport Authority to manage the Anchorage and Fairbanks airports. Senate Bill 189 by Anchorage Republican Sen. Tim Kelly would do the same thing.



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