Alaska Official Election Pamphlet

BALLOT MEASURE NO. 1: Constitutional Amendment Concerning Statehood Act Changes

This proposed amendment to Alaska's Constitution defines how the state would agree to a change to the Alaska Statehood Act. This amendment provides that any changes to the Statehood Act proposed by Congress must be approved in one of two ways: 1) By a majority vote of Alaskan voters in an election, or 2) By a two-thirds vote of the state legislature.

Should this Constitutional amendment be adopted?

A vote "FOR" adopts the amendment. [ ]
A vote "AGAINST" rejects the amendment. [ ]

Yeas: 39
Nays: 1
Yeas: 20
Nays: 0

The Alaska Statehood Act admitted Alaska as a new state. Certain state rights and interests arise out of that Act. The state claims that these rights and interests cannot be changed by the federal government alone. The state believes that a change made by federal law that affects a state interest under the Act must also have the state's consent.

This resolution proposes to add a new section to the state constitution to require the state's approval of any proposed federal change to the Alaska Statehood Act that affects a state interest under that Act.

This resolution also sets out two methods by which the state's approval may be given. Under the first method, the legislature alone, by two-thirds vote of each house, could give the state's consent without a vote of the people. Under the second method, both the legislature and the people must demonstrate that the state consents to the change. First the legislature, by the majority vote of each house, approves the change. If approved by the legislature, the question is submitted to the people to approve or disapprove. The resolution also explains the methods for submitting the question to the people.

Article XII, Constitution of the State of Alaska, is amended by adding a new section to read:
Sec. 14. APPROVAL OF FEDERAL AMENDMENT TO STATEHOOD ACT AFFECTING AN INTEREST OF THE STATE UNDER THAT ACT. A federal statute or proposed federal statute that affects an interest of this State under the Act admitting Alaska to the Union is ineffective as against the State interest unless approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature or approved by the people of the State. The legislature may, by a resolution passed by a majority vote of each house, place the question of approval of the federal statute on the ballot for the next general election unless in the resolution placing the question of approval, the legislature requires the question to be placed before the voters at a special election. The approval of the federal statute by the people of the State is not effective unless the federal statute described in the resolution is ratified by a majority of the qualified voters of the State who vote on the question. Unless a summary of the question is provided in the resolution passed by the legislature, the lieutenant governor shall prepare an impartial summary of the question. The lieutenant governor shall present the question to the voters so that a "yes" vote on the question is a vote to approve the federal statute.

The Statehood Compact is a contract that was entered into between the federal government and the people of Alaska at Statehood in 1958. It set forth the conditions and provisions through which Alaska would be admitted to the Union as the 49th state. Before the Compact was finalized, it had to be agreed to and voted upon by the people of Alaska. The Compact protects important rights granted to Alaskans like oil lease royalties and the people's interest in Alaska's resources.

Despite its importance to the public, Alaska's Statehood Compact was not coupled with a method for future amend- ments. In 1976, the Legislature passed a law requiring legislative or popular approval of any federal changes to the Compact before they would become effective.

The measure before you today seeks to take some of that important power out of the hands of the Legislature and return it to the people. If the Statehood Compact is to be changed -- and important rights affecting all Alaskans along with it -- the people should be allowed to vote on the changes. Just as the Constitution requires voter approval before it can be changed, so too should the Statehood Compact.

If you vote to adopt this measure, any change to the Statehood Compact affecting Alaska would have to either be voted on by the public on a ballot like this one, or be approved by a "super majority" of the Legislature, which is 2/3 of each house, as opposed to the usual simple majority that is required to amend ordinary laws.

Important rights are at stake here. Rights that could affect you and your family significantly. In fact, right now, there is litigation going on between the State of Alaska and the federal government over the amount of oil lease revenues the state was promised in the Statehood Compact. If we win the lawsuit, it could mean tens of billions of dollars for the state, which would obviously benefit us all. If the federal government prevails, we get nothing -- all because Congress chose to change the terms of the Compact and give Alaska less oil lease money than was originally promised.

Don't give the federal government the ability to rearrange the Statehood Compact as they see fit. Vote YES to keep those important decisions in the hands of Alaskan voters. Then, the next time a federal law comes along proposing to cut Alaska's income under the Compact, you, the voter, will have something to say about it.

Drue Pearce
President of the Senate

A Statement In Opposition to Ballot Measure 1 was not received.

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