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September 23, 2021

The Simple Truth Behind Ballot Initiative No. 1

There is a lot of money being spent to get Alaskans to “Vote No” on Ballot Measure No. 1, with those opponents painting pictures of certain doom for Alaska’s economy. But what those opponents don’t say speaks volumes as to their motivations. Unfortunately, the messaging about what Ballot Measure No. 1 truly does is rather scattered, so let’s bring it all together. First, let’s start with a little history. One of the principal reasons for becoming a state, which was discussed over and over again at the Alaska Constitutional Convention in Fairbanks in November 1955, was the mismanagement of our…

Court Delivers Double-Whammy Over Pebble

Friday, the Alaska Supreme Court issued two decisions that will have far-reaching impacts about how the Department of Natural Resources conducts business in hard rock mineral exploration, and the ability of the State and others to chill opposition. While the two cases involved the Pebble Prospect exploration, neither will impact the development of that mine. Background In 1988, Teck Cominco drilled the first exploration wells in what would become the 360 square-mile Pebble Prospect. By 2010, ownership of the Pebble claims would change hands from Teck Cominco to Northern Dynasty Minerals to the Pebble Limited Partnership. Collectively, those entities would…

Court Sees Value in Protecting Bristol Bay

Before the Bristol Bay Forever Initiative was ever printed on statewide ballots, it had to defend a legal challenge from an individual named Richard Hughes, the Alaska Miners Association, and the Council of Alaska Producers. The Alaska Supreme Court issued an oral decision allowing that initiative to go to the ballot. Today, the Court issued a written order justifying its decision, Hughes v. Treadwell, Slip Op. No. 6981 (Alaska Supreme Court, Jan. 30, 2015). In order for a citizen ballot initiative to be valid in Alaska, it must avoid certain prohibited topics.  Under Article XI, section 7, it may not engage in an appropriation…

GOP Tries to Stack the Courts

When you can’t win, change the rules. I’ve wondered why our legislators have spent the better part of their time on bills likely to struck down as unconstitutional. They are trying to rewrite our constitution to hand public money to schools, deny women reproductive justice and deny citizens the right to weigh in on resource development. Lawmakers will vote on bills that they know will end up in court. That takes money that they don’t have to pay for on either side. Maybe we need an amendment that requires those who vote for bills deemed unconstitutional have to pay the…

AK Must Redraw District Map

Remember the new district map for Alaska? Well, it has had a tumultuous, though brief life span. Some hated it, some disliked it, some said it was fair, and a lot of Democrats clutched their pearls and gasped, “Don’t make a stink, because it could be worse!”  Um. Worse than losing the bipartisan coalition in the senate, and maintaining a solid minority in the house? Gee, I’m glad we didn’t go there. Well, the kerfuffle over the map went all the way to the Alaska Supreme Court, and the divided opinion said … (drumroll please) … Back to the drawing…

Bipartisanship is Not on the Map

By Shannyn Moore My friends, once again, Alaska is charting new waters. The GOP-heavy redistricting board, in its zeal to break up the bipartisan coalition in charge of the Alaska Senate, has made Joe Hazelwood look like a model seaman. Let’s see how the entire state “fetched up.” Alaska’s Supreme Court, listing like a dinghy in 20-foot seas, decided by a 3-2 vote that we can run this year’s election on an unconstitutional map of election districts. Why? No time to do a constitutional version. The board’s map still has one last hurdle to clear: the Department of Justice, which…

Palin’s Health Care Priorities and Alaska’s Daughters

Today, Lisa Demer of the Anchorage Daily News has broken a story that adds another scandal to the growing list of  scandals that have plagued this administration, and shines the light on Alaska’s very own health care crisis.  Demer’s story centers on the horrendous condition of the Alaska’s state programs that are designed to help its most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and disabled. The situation is so bad the federal government has forbidden the state to sign up new people until the state makes necessary improvements. [snip] The moratorium is expected to last four or five months. State officials estimate…