Absent Alaska lawmaker continues to collect pay
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska lawmaker, under pressure to resign after being accused of hitting a woman, has missed committee hearings and floor sessions this week but continues to be paid.
Jessica Geary, deputy executive director with the Legislative Affairs Agency, said the agency’s accounting office has received no notice from Rep. Zach Fansler indicating that he wishes to decline the daily allowance that lawmakers are entitled to during session.
Geary told The Associated Press by email Thursday that since the allowance, or per diem, is paid two weeks in advance, Fansler has been paid through Feb. 11. She said the agency does not pay a member per diem if certain days are declined in writing.
The Juneau Empire reported Saturday that a woman accused Fansler of hitting her during a night of drinking shortly before session started, drawing condemnation from state House leaders and calls for his resignation.
Fansler’s attorney, Wally Tetlow, on Saturday denied the allegations and said Fansler had no immediate plans to resign. Tetlow has not returned messages since then.
House leaders have reassigned Fansler’s staff and asked Fansler to turn in his office keys.
Geary said absences have no effect on whether lawmakers are entitled to their salary, per diem or office allowance accounts.