Legislature(2001 - 2002)
2002-08-14 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2002-08-14 House Journal Page 4081 HB 296 The following letter, dated July 5, 2002, was received: "Dear Speaker Porter: Under the authority vested in me by art. II, sec. 15, of the Alaska Constitution, I have vetoed the following bill: SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 296(JUD) "An Act relating to mergers and consolidations of municipalities." 2002-08-14 House Journal Page 4082 This legislation, which would alter how local option mergers and consolidations of municipalities may be accomplished, could have an adverse effect on all future merger and consolidation efforts. Under current law, a simple majority of the electors of the entire area to be consolidated determines whether the consolidation or merger passes. This voting process has been upheld as constitutional and is in furtherance of art. X, sec. 1, of the Alaska Constitution. See Douglas v. City and Borough of Juneau, 484 P.2d 1040 (Alaska 1971). This bill would require a majority of voters in each of the affected parts of municipalities to be merged or consolidated to vote in favor of the action and does so by creating de facto election districts. For instance, under this bill all voters in a borough outside city limits become a separate voting district. City dwellers within the borough may vote only as residents and taxpayers of the city, but are prevented from voting as residents of the borough where they also live and pay taxes. This disenfranchises the city voters by denying them an appropriate share of the vote in the borough election, and actually empowers the smaller non-city portion of the borough electorate to solely decide the outcome of the merger or consolidation vote. The result is that consolidations and mergers of municipalities become more difficult, if not impossible, under the local option method. This would be contrary to the Alaska Constitution. The bill also provides that the voting provisions related to mergers and consolidations are intended to be consistent with the voting requirements for annexation specified in AS 29.06.040(c)(1). However, there is nothing in AS 29.06.040(c)(1) that provides for the minority vote to supersede the majority vote. In fact, this statute directly contradicts the provisions of this bill. This would only serve to cause serious legal problems in the administration of the new provisions in this bill. For the reasons stated, I have vetoed this bill. 2002-08-14 House Journal Page 4083 Sincerely, /s/ Tony Knowles Governor"