Not registering for draft could cost dividend

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Rep. Lisa Murkowski wants to provide young men with a potent reminder to register for the draft when they turn 18. She's sponsored a bill to take away their permanent fund dividend if they don't.

The House of Representatives unanimously approved the measure Friday. It now goes to the Senate.

''This is the selective service registration awareness and compliance act,'' said Murkowski, R-Anchorage.

House Bill 305 would make young men who neglect to register for the draft ineligible to receive permanent fund dividends, state student loans or state jobs.

Federal law requires men between the ages of 18 and 26 to register with the federal Selective Service System, although the government is not currently requiring military service of those on the register.

Not registering can result in a $250,000 federal fine and up to five years in prison and make men ineligible for federal student aid, job training and federal jobs, Murkowski said.

The state law is not meant to punish young men, but to remind them so they don't get penalized by the federal law, she said.

''There's a lack of recognition by some young people, I think, that this requirement is still out there,'' Murkowski said.

Murkowski said some legislators expressed concern that only men were penalized by the measure.

''If I had my way, by golly, the young women would be signing up as well,'' she said. But there's nothing the Legislature can do about that provision in the federal law, she said.

An amendment, offered by Reps. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, and John Davies, D-Fairbanks, would allow young men to continue receiving the state benefits as long as they register within 30 days of being notified they haven't complied. The amendment was accepted without debate.

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