Upper Valley Rep Causes Fine for State Legislature

by:  Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN

Next session, state lawmakers will have to be a little more careful about what they ship down to Juneau. The Legislative Council has changed their moving reimbursement policy in response to the Federal Aviation Administration discovering hazardous materials in a representative’s airfreight.

Wes Keller, a Wasilla Republican, was found to have shipped multiple items that violate FAA rules on an Alaska Airlines flight as part of his
relocation to Juneau last January. Among his belongings were a small amount of ammunition, a cigarette lighter, and a can of StaticGuard aerosol fabric spray. Because the state pays moving costs for lawmakers, Keller’s goods were shipped under the Legislative Affairs Agency account. The Legislative Affairs Agency was cited by the FAA for the violation. The initial fine was nearly $20,000, but the FAA agreed to halve it contingent on a change to state policy. At a Wednesday meeting, the Legislative
Council voted to end reimbursement for the shipment of any item that
qualifies as a hazardous material under state or federal law. The Council also added a new rule that goods shipped via a state account must be inspected by Legislative Affairs Agency staff before being put on a plane to Juneau.

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