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Press Release

Judge Issues Order Denying Alaska State Employees Association Request for TRO

March 31, 2020

(Anchorage, AK) – Today Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Matthews denied the request by the Alaska State Employees Association (ASEA) to force the State of Alaska to implement certain measures within state workplaces. ASEA had asked for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to effectively require the State of Alaska to close state offices and send roughly one half of the state’s workforce home, without any consideration for the role those employees play in state government or the risk to the broader public if those services were no longer performed.

Applauding the trial court's order, Attorney General Kevin Clarkson says, "Judge Matthews recognized that government power regarding how to address the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing to maintain essential state services, is entrusted to the Governor and not the judiciary. The State of Alaska is doing all it can to ensure the safety of our valued state employees.” General Clarkson adds, “As noted by Judge Matthews in the court’s order, the issues faced by Governor Dunleavy’s administration in the ever-changing face of this pandemic are daunting, and the situation is ‘like trying to fly an airplane at the same time you’re building it.’ These are unprecedented times and we must all step up to do what we can to get through this pandemic, while still keeping the State functioning to provide essential services to Alaskans."

The Superior Court heard this matter on an expedited basis. The court ordered a telephonic status/pretrial conference for April 6, 2020 at 3:00 pm.

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Department Media Contact: Assistant Attorney General Maria Bahr at (907) 269-5285 or maria.bahr@alaska.gov.