Supporters of an initiative to ban the use of public money for lobbying or campaigning acknowledge that Alaska regulators were requiring more financial disclosure before supporters withdrew. The main group in support of the initiative did not want to disclose its contributors. Last week, Clean Team Alaska suspended its campaign to get voters to approve the proposed law on the August statewide ballot. The group accused state executives of trying to sink the measure by inappropriately tinkering with the summary language that voters would see.
According to the Juneau Empire on Sunday, Gov. Sean Parnell has signed off on House Bill 36, which sets new financial disclosure requirements for ballot initiative campaigns and gives new duties concerning initiatives to the lieutenant governor’s office.
The Anchorage School Board voted Monday to oppose the anti-corruption initiative expected on the ballot this August. School Board President John Steiner says the initiative would make it harder for the district to explain its concerns and needs to lawmakers because it would bar, in part, government from paying lobbying groups.
The state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that an initiative requiring parental notification for minors seeking an abortion will be on the August primary ballot. Planned Parenthood had argued that more than 36,000 voters who signed the initiative petition failed to receive key information on sign-up sheets, for example that physicians could be charged and imprisoned if they failed to properly inform a parent.
A ballot measure facing Alaska voters in August claims to be opposed to corruption, but Alaska Municipal League’s Kathie Wasserman says it is actually an attack on citizen participation in their government. Wasserman told the Juneau Chamber of Commerce Thursday that a ballot measure deemed the “anti-corruption” initiative isn’t what it appears. “This initiative sounds on the outside like something we’d all back,” she said.
According to the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Supreme Court Justice Morgan Christen has decided to remove herself from a position to decide on the lawsuit to invalidate a ballot initiative that would require doctors to notify parents if their minor child seeks an abortion. Years ago, Christen had served on the board of Planned Parenthood, the group that brought the suit, and The Alaska Family Council, an anti-abortion group, sent out e-mail alerts telling its members to contact judicial officials and object to an alleged conflict of interest. A “barrage” of messages ensued.
A statewide ballot initiative is getting some attention from Fairbanks politicians and union leaders who are opposed to it. A rally was held Saturday at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers headquarters in Fairbanks to oppose Ballot Measure 1. The ballot initiative aims to tighten restrictions on campaign contributions and publicly funded lobbyists. Opponents say it goes too far, impeding free-speech rights and important government functions.
Alaskans can find out who’s financing ballot initiative organizers far sooner under a bill the Legislature passed late Sunday. Rep. Kyle Johansen’s bill now goes to Gov. Sean Parnell. The Ketchikan Republican says past initiative campaigns had been heavily financed by out-of-state interests. They didn’t have to report their finances until after the question had been certified for the ballot.