Legislature debates cell phone ban, Life Sciences funding

By Andrew Sheeler
Sun Star Reporter

Hang up and drive

Rep. Mike Doogan, D-Anchorage, has sponsored House Bill 257, which would prohibit the use of a cell phone while driving. If passed, this act would take effect on July 1. That includes a ban on hands-free cell phone devices such as speakerphones and headsets. Unfortunately for Doogan and decent drivers across the state, Rep. Jay Ramras, R – Fairbanks, who is the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, opposes the bill. Ramras said that he doesn’t believe the police need another excuse to pull people over. He said he plans to block the bill in committee unless it gets changed to a secondary offence, which would prevent police from using phone conversations as a reason to pull somebody over. Stay on the line for further details on this bill, although you may want to pull over first.

Life Sciences building project: Alive?

Governor Parnell has requested more than $100 million for the sole building project that the University of Alaska Board of Regents requested. The fact that that is the only new building the Regents requested is noteworthy of itself, according to Rep. David Guttenberg, D – Fairbanks. It was a clear cut message to the legislature, a response to what Guttenberg describes as the Legislature’s meddling with previous Board of Regent budget requests. Guttenberg is not alone in his support of the Life Sciences project. Grad students working in cramped conditions and antiquated labs would likely appreciate it just as much, if not more. According to Ann Ringstad, the university’s Director of Community Advocacy, “The cool thing about it, it’s teaching and it’s research.” In other words, the building would better accommodate the grad students and professors doing research in the facility and the undergraduate students taking classes and working as assistants. Although the grant is for a UAF building, Ringstad said that it would benefit the entire state, since UAF does more than 90 percent of university research statewide.

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