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SJR 10: Urging the Alaska delegation in Congress, the United States Department of the Interior, and the Governor to facilitate the completion of a land grant endowment to the University of Alaska.

00                       SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 10                                                                    
01 Urging the Alaska delegation in Congress, the United States Department of the Interior,                                 
02 and the Governor to facilitate the completion of a land grant endowment to the                                          
03 University of Alaska.                                                                                                   
04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                               
05       WHEREAS the University of Alaska plays a vital role in educating students from the                              
06 state and around the world and conducts invaluable research; and                                                        
07       WHEREAS the University of Alaska did not receive any of the federal land granted                                
08 to states for higher education under the Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862 and received                            
09 only a fraction of the reserved land allocated under the 1915 Wickersham land grant; and                                
10       WHEREAS the Alaska Statehood Act repealed the 1915 Wickersham land grant and                                    
11 removed the state's eligibility for land under the Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862,                              
12 instead granting a 103,000,000-acre entitlement to the new State of Alaska; and                                         
13       WHEREAS the United States Congress intended for the Alaska State Legislature to                                 
14 provide the University of Alaska with a land endowment from Alaska Statehood Act land;                                  
15 and                                                                                                                     
01 WHEREAS various interpretations of the state's obligation to transfer land to the                                     
02 University of Alaska resulted in an extended period during which the university struggled to                            
03 get its remaining land grant, while much of the land originally reserved for the university has                         
04 been transferred to other entities; and                                                                                 
05 WHEREAS the Twenty-First Alaska State Legislature passed Senate Bill No. 7 and                                        
06 the Twenty-Fourth Alaska State Legislature passed House Bill No. 130, granting                                          
07 approximately 250,000 acres of state land to the University of Alaska to remedy the                                     
08 university's land grant deficit; and                                                                                    
09 WHEREAS the Alaska Supreme Court, in Southeast Alaska Conservation Council v.                                         
10 State, 202 P.3d 1162 (Alaska 2009), ruled that the transfer of land under those enactments                              
11 violated the prohibition on dedicated funds in art. IX, sec. 7, Constitution of the State of                            
12 Alaska, and ordered the land to be conveyed from the University of Alaska back to the state;                            
13 and                                                                                                                     
14 WHEREAS, among the states that received grants of land for higher education, with                                     
15 the exception of Delaware, the University of Alaska received the smallest amount of land                                
16 from the federal government, and the land grant deficit remains unremedied; and                                         
17 WHEREAS fulfilling the intent of the Sixty-Third United States Congress in 1915,                                      
18 the Eighty-Fifth United States Congress in 1958, the Twenty-First Alaska State Legislature in                           
19 2000, and the Twenty-Fourth Alaska State Legislature in 2005 to provide a permanent land                                
20 endowment for the University of Alaska will require a joint effort by the federal and state                             
21 governments to establish a land grant that is "required by the federal government for state                             
22 participation in federal programs," as specified under art. IX, sec. 7, Constitution of the State                       
23 of Alaska;                                                                                                              
24 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully urges the Alaska                                        
25 delegation in Congress, the United States Department of the Interior, and the Governor to                               
26 work together to create a joint federal-state strategy that will facilitate the creation of a                           
27 permanent land endowment for the University of Alaska that conforms to state constitutional                             
28 requirements and that will remedy the university's longstanding land grant deficit.                                     
29 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable David Bernhardt, Acting                                      
30 United States Secretary of the Interior; the Honorable Joe Balash, Assistant Secretary of the                           
31 Interior; and the Honorable Lisa Murkowski and the Honorable Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senators,                               
01 and the Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in                                   
02 Congress.