Lawmakers call for public information as Human Rights Commission meets over personnel matter

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Four members of the Alaska House of Representatives are calling for access to public records regarding the Alaska Human Rights Commission after a highly-publicized incident on social media with the commission’s director.

Meanwhile, the commission itself met Monday afternoon, slated to take up a personnel matter in executive session and to discuss a social media policy.

In the incident, Marti Buscaglia, the Executive Director of the commission, left a note on her business card on the truck of a contractor at a state building. The truck displayed a “Black Rifles Matter” sticker. Buscaglia’s note said to not park the truck in the lot with “that offensive sticker.” The Alaska Human Rights Commission then posted a photo of the bumper sticker, asking “In what world is this OK?”

[RELATED: Dept. of Law investigating Facebook post from Alaska State Commission for Human Rights]

Four Republican lawmakers say Buscaglia conveyed her personal opinions, implied as the opinions of a government agency.

Reps. Lance Pruitt, R- Anchorage, Dave Talerico, R-Healy, Josh Revak, R-Anchorage, and Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, have requested all of Buscaglia’s written and electronic communication with staff members of the Commission for Human Rights between January 1 and March 31, 2019.

Read their full letter here.

“I think there needs to be a clear line drawn between what are human rights and what is free speech,” Rep. Talerico said Monday in Juneau.

“I just feel that there was a line crossed here that shouldn’t have been crossed,” Talerico said.

Talerico said he’d prefer that the Human Rights Commission itself handle the consequences of the incident, but that he thought something needs to be done.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy requested an investigation into the matter. The Associated Press reports that a spokesperson said the investigation had been completed and sent to the commission’s chair.

The commission met Monday afternoon to go into executive session regarding a “personnel matter,” and also to take up a social media policy.

The commission adjourned without taking formal action, continuing the executive session to another day, and postponing the social media policy discussion along with it.

Chairman Brandon Nakasato told the Associated Press the commission was not able to reach a decision based on its discussion in executive session. He says members will try to meet again soon, perhaps yet this week.

He confirmed to the AP later that the matter was related to the investigation requested by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Channel 2's Sean Maguire contributed to this report from Juneau, and Jill Burke contributed from Anchorage.



 
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