JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska House leaders said Tuesday they had not heard from a freshman lawmaker accused of hitting a woman even though the House speaker called for the member’s resignation Saturday.
The office of House Rules Chair Gabrielle LeDoux asked that Democratic Rep. Zach Fansler of Bethel turn in his office keys, and Fansler’s staff was reassigned to LeDoux’s office, according to House majority coalition press secretary Mike Mason.
If Fansler doesn’t resign, the House could expel him with a two-thirds vote.
That action is rare, taken once in 1982 following a conviction of then-Sen. George Hohman in a bribery case, according to Legislative Research Services. House Speaker Bryce Edgmon did not appear ready to take that potential step.
Edgmon told reporters Fansler has constitutional rights and that requesting his resignation was “a bold step.” Fansler deserves some time to make a decision, Edgmon said.
“But at some point we need to get on with our business and we need to get House District 38 the representation it … deserves,” he said. House District 38 is Fansler’s district.
The Juneau Empire reported Saturday that a woman accused Fansler of hitting her after a night of drinking earlier this month. Fansler’s attorney has said his client denies allegations he beat the woman and that he had no immediate plans to resign.
Edgmon said Fansler has been a hard-working legislator dedicated to representing his district. But he said the House will not “tolerate bad behavior of any sort.”
“It’s my hope that going forward, Rep. Fansler gets the treatment that I think that he deserves and that he’s able to sort of redirect his life going forward,” Edgmon said.