JUNEAU -- The Alaska House of Representatives on Friday named its Judiciary Committee room after Max Gruenberg, the longtime Anchorage Democratic legislator who served on the committee for years and who died Sunday at age 72.
House members Friday unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by all 39 members that dedicates the room in honor of Gruenberg, a family-law attorney. It directs the placement of a bronze plaque near the door celebrating Gruenberg's "love and dedication to the law," and notes he was affectionately known as the "Great Amender" for his care in crafting legislation.
"He believed in the power of the law in protecting Alaska people," said Anchorage Rep. Chris Tuck, the leader of Gruenberg's minority Democratic caucus.
Before voting, lawmakers took a break from proceedings to fix a few of the resolution's components, including a stray comma inserted on purpose -- so there would be a reason to amend the memorial resolution draft, as Gruenberg himself might have done.
"There was one intentional, but they found two other errors now," Rep. Steve Thompson, a Fairbanks Republican, said during the break.
Gruenberg's widow, Kayla Epstein, gave the House's opening prayer Friday, and his former colleagues gave a series of tributes.
"All of us could go on for hours telling stories about Max, what a privilege it was to serve with Max," said Rep. Bob Lynn, an Anchorage Republican and the chamber's senior member. "We miss you, Max."
Democrats are in the process of selecting candidates to replace Gruenberg -- they'll submit three names for Gov. Bill Walker to choose from. Applications, which must come from Democrats in Gruenberg's East Anchorage district, are due for submission by 5 p.m. Monday by to the Alaska Democratic party.