Representative Matt Claman Lays Out Legislative Agenda

    Priorities include birth control, safety of medical staff, and the authority to marry.

    In an interview with News of the North, Representative Matt Claman from Anchorage gave his priorities for this year's session.

    He is sponsoring legislation along with Chuck Kopp from Anchorage that would make class 4 misdemeanors against hospital staff an offense that could be prosecuted more effectively. The current laws require medical staff to be pulled away from their work to assist police officers, and the Hospitals Association approached the lawmaker hoping for change.

    Nurse Gena Deck, while a guest on the streets of Juneau, gave her account of an attempted strangulation by an ER patient, who was released shortly afterwards and returned frequently to her place of work.

    When asked why he chose Mr. Kopp as a cosponsor, he said that Representative Kopp was someone he knew to consistently work toward what's best for Alaska.

    Representative Claman is also reviving efforts to pass legislation that expands insurance coverage of contraception from 3 months, which is currently required by The Affordable Care Act, to 12 months. It does not change the prescriptions being provided.

    He noted that often, domestic violence situations often included an element of coercion involving contraception, and this bill hopes to address that issue.

    He is also putting forth legislation that would allow elected officials to perform wedding ceremonies. When asked if he had received requests to perform one, he said that he had not, but argued that the mayor of Anchorage or Wasilla should be allowed the authority on short notice.

    He was also asked what he hoped his legacy would be as a lawmaker, and why he felt so drawn to public service. The full interview is available for streaming below.

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