Legislature passes compromise hate crimes resolution

Posted: Sunday, May 06, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- The Alaska Legislature is now on record as condemning a January paintball attack against Alaska Natives in Anchorage.

The House and Senate voted Saturday to accept a compromise version of a resolution condemning the attack and all hate crimes, racism and wrongful discrimination. The resolution calls for a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights investigation of the paintball incident and others incidents of racism in Alaska.

The resolution is in response to an incident earlier this year in which three young white men videotaped themselves shooting paintballs at Alaska Natives in downtown Anchorage.

The measure became controversial when the Senate changed the resolution after it had passed the House. The Senate version condemned only ''unlawful'' discrimination, and the House refused to accept that change.

A conference committee agreed Friday to change the word ''unlawful'' to ''wrongful,'' although committee member Rep. Ethan Berkowitz disagreed with the compromise. He preferred the original House version of the measure.

The compromise resolution passed the House 33-3 without discussion. Reps. Scott Ogan, R-Palmer; John Coghill, R-North Pole; and Berkowitz voted against it.

The measure passed the Senate 19-1, with Sen. Lyda Green, R-Matanuska-Susitna Borough voting no.

The resolution is simply a statement and has no force of law.

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