The Latest: Lawmaker votes against Black History Month bill

May 2, 2019 GMT

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Alaska Legislature’s vote to establish Black History Month (all times local):

2 p.m.

A Republican lawmaker who was the lone no vote on a bill to make February Black History Month in Alaska suggested that should not be a focus so late in the legislative session.

Rep. David Eastman says passing a new law “saying how much politicians care about African Americans is fundamentally dishonest.”

He says Alaskans deserve to feel safe in their homes and lawmakers should be focusing on giving that back to them. Bills addressing crime are being worked on.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson sponsored the bill to establish Black History Month. With the House vote, it passed the Legislature Thursday.

She says Eastman “doesn’t get it.”

She says leaders, while dealing with various issues, can’t forget about their community in terms of things that make people feel like they matter.

___

12:45 p.m.

The Alaska Legislature has voted to make February of each year Black History Month.

The measure passed the House 37-1 on Thursday after previously passing the Senate. It will next go to the governor.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson.

In a statement accompanying the measure, the Anchorage Democrat says it’s intended to celebrate and call attention to the accomplishments of African Americans throughout Alaska and the United States.

Rep. David Eastman was the sole vote against the measure. The Wasilla Republican did not speak to his vote on the floor. A message seeking comment was left with his office.