2000 GENERAL ELECTION - BALLOT MEASURES
(Statements printed on this page are the opinions of the authors and are presented as submitted to the Division of Elections)
* Ballot Measure No. 1: Amendment Prohibiting Voter Initiatives About Wildlife
Ballot Language - Legislative Affairs Agency Summary - HJR 56
Full Text - Statement in Support - Statement in Opposition
This ballot measure would change the Alaska Constitution so that voters could not use the initiative process to make laws that permit, regulate, or prohibit taking or transporting wildlife, or prescribe seasons or methods for taking wildlife.
SHOULD THIS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BE ADOPTED? Yes or No
Votes cast by the members of the Twenty-First Alaska Legislature on final passage:
House: 27 yeas, 11 nays, 2 excused
Senate: 14 yeas, 6 nays, all members present
LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY SUMMARY
This measure would amend the state constitution. This measure would ban the use of the initiative to enact, amend, or repeal certain state laws that relate to wildlife.
FULL TEXT OF PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
[HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 56]
* Section 1. Article XI, sec. 7, Constitution of the State of Alaska, is amended to read:
Section 7. Restrictions. The initiative shall not be used to dedicate revenues, make or repeal appropriations, create courts, define the jurisdiction of courts or prescribe their rules, permit, regulate, or prohibit the taking or transportation of wildlife, prescribe seasons or methods for the taking of wildlife, or enact local or special legislation. The referendum shall not be applied to dedications of revenue, to appropriations, to local or special legislation, or to laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety.
* Sec. 2. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be placed before the voters of the state at the next general election in conformity with art. XIII, sec. 1, Constitution of the State of Alaska, and the election laws of the state.
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT
Ballot Measure No.1 is a much needed solution to a serious problem affecting sound wildlife management in Alaska. It gives all Alaskans the opportunity to return wildlife management to where it belongs, namely to a public process forum working with trained professionals making sensible solutions based on biological considerations. Expensive political campaigns funded by animal rights groups from the Lower 48 designed to win support based solely on public emotion through paid signature gatherers, deceptive media advertising and biased informational material is not how Alaska's wildlife should be managed. The people of Alaska and our wildlife deserve better.
Those opposing Ballot Measure No.1 say the system is "broken" and "unfair." Nothing could be farther from the truth. Alaska has the most open public process for citizen participation in management decisions of any state in the Union. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Alaska Board of Game, along with local Advisory Committees provide an effective, representative system open to all Alaskans, citizens and professionals alike. There are nearly 100 Advisory Committees distributed throughout Alaska composed of 1,000 Alaskans, urban and rural, from every walk of life elected at public meetings statewide. They provide a fair opportunity for the broadest spectrum of Alaskas people, to affect all wildlife management decisions.
Local Advisory Committees reflect a diversity of opinion within Alaska's citizens ranging from non-use protectionism to advocacy of sustainable resource use. The process itself promotes tolerance and the free-exchange of ideas and fair and effective management, something Outside interests reject. The initiative process, on the other hand, favors densely populated urban areas where daily realities and the lifestyles of rural areas may be least understood. This, coupled with millions of dollars from Outside animal rights groups supporting anti-management and anti-harvest agendas, promotes wildlife management based on questionable emotional pleas, not sound biological standards.
The framers of our Constitution restricted the ballot initiative process in Article XI, Section 7 of the Alaska Constitution. Section 7 exempts certain subjects from the ballot initiative process. This is not an uncommon practice, as over half of the 50 states do not even have an initiative process. I believe wildlife management is an appropriate subject for exemption. Initiatives are not the way to promote sound wildlife management reflecting Alaska's many differing regional needs when the public has available an open public process.
Your "Yes" vote for Ballot Measure No.1 will:
* assure scientific and prudent management of wildlife resources, through a grassroots, public process of adopting state wildlife law and wildlife regulations,
* promote healthier wildlife populations for the future generations of all Alaskans, and
* protect traditional Alaskan lifestyles dependent upon abundant wildlife populations.
Representative Carl Morgan, Jr.
Sponsor of Ballot Measure No.1
STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION
VOTE NO ON BALLOT MEASURE 1 because it is a power grab by the Legislature to take away constitutional rights from Alaska's people. Ballot Measure 1 strikes at the heart of Alaskans' most important rights to govern themselves with a free voice.
The framers of Alaska's Constitution clearly believed the citizens should retain power over our elected representatives. Our Constitution specifically authorizes the people themselves to create laws through the initiative process whenever they are dissatisfied by the Legislature:
"The people may propose and enact laws by the initiative."
Now members of the Legislature want to change our Constitution to limit the right of voters to hold government accountable on wildlife issues. This is an attempt by the Legislature to take power away from the people - pure and simple - and it can only be stopped by a NO vote.
Alaska's Constitution states:
"All political power is inherent in the people. All government originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the people as a whole."
We must not let the Legislature restrict the power of the people. We must stop this attack on democracy!
VOTE NO ON BALLOT MEASURE 1 and do not let the Legislature limit the right of citizens to vote on laws that deal with wildlife. Alaska's Constitution was developed with the clear intent of being able to have people vote on fish and game issues. Our Constitution is considered a model among all the states' constitutions for retaining ultimate political power with the people. THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO DEPRIVE THE PEOPLE OF THIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT.
The Legislature does not trust the people to make decisions on wildlife. But only two of the 29 initiatives that have appeared on ballots since statehood have dealt with wildlife, and only one of these passed. The people of Alaska are not stupid. The voters considered each issue on its merits. The people's right to do so should not be abridged, whether it deals with wildlife, fisheries, or subsistence.
Alaska's Constitution is based on a system of checks and balances. Ballot Measure 1 would remove an important check on the Legislature. VOTE NO because this ballot measure will put final wildlife decisions in the hands of politicians. This is not about science - it is all about politics.
THE ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME (ADFG) STRONGLY OPPOSES THIS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Here is what the ADFG Commissioner says:
"Unlike the sponsors of HJR 56 [Ballot Measure 1], I believe Alaskans are able to weigh information and vote just as intelligently on wildlife issues as they do on other initiative issues."
"The Alaska Department of Fish and Game believes that removing wildlife management issues from the initiative process will lead to more conflict, public cynicism, and divisiveness among Alaskans. The department strongly supports the existing constitutional right of Alaskans to enact wildlife policies through the initiative process if and when they find it necessary."
STAND UP FOR ALASKANS' EXISTING CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.
VOTE NO ON BALLOT MEASURE 1.
David R. Cline, President, Kodiak Brown Bear Trust
Vic Fischer, Former Senator (framer of the Alaska Constitution)
Governor Wally Hickel
Representative Beth Kerttula
Jack Lentfer, Wildlife Biologist
Byron Mallott, President, First Alaskan Foundation
Jack Roderick, Former Anchorage Mayor
Arliss Sturgulewski, Former Senator
Kenneth Whitten, Retired ADFG Wildlife Biologist
Deborah Williams, Director, Alaska Conservation Foundation
Lew Williams, Jr., Ketchikan