Rep: No ethical conflict in firefighter bill

Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2011

JUNEAU — A Republican lawmaker said Monday that he sees no ethical conflict between his serving as a volunteer firefighter and a bill he’s proposing that would give property tax breaks to volunteer firefighters.

Rep. Eric Feige, of Chickaloon, said the bill doesn’t single him out for benefit. It’s intended to encourage more people to join volunteer fire, emergency medical and rescue organizations, he said.

Joyce Anderson, administrator of the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics, told The Associated Press that if a bill affects an entire group of citizens the same — as it appears this bill would — then it is not considered a conflict of interest under Alaska law.

But she said Feige also should probably declare his position as chief of Chickaloon Fire Services Inc. on the House floor if the bill comes up for a vote. It would then be up to his colleagues to decide whether he could vote on the bill.

The measure would exempt taxation on the first $200,000 of assessed value of the volunteer’s primary home. The exemption also would apply to a widow or widower of someone who had been an active fire, rescue or emergency medical volunteer.

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