Legislature(1999 - 2000)
2000-07-14 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2000-07-14 House Journal Page 3849 HB 133 The following letter dated May 19, 2000, was received: "Dear Speaker Porter: Under the authority of art. II, sec. 15, of the Alaska Constitution, I have vetoed the following bill: SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 133(CRA) am S "An Act relating to municipal service areas and providing for voter approval of the formation, alteration, or abolishment of certain service areas." This bill amends the rights of certain general law as well as home rule municipalities to form, alter, or abolish certain service areas within their jurisdiction. In fact, for the first time since statehood, the rights of Alaska's home rule municipalities in forming, altering, and abolishing service areas are limited by statute. Additionally, this bill creates an exemption for which only one general law borough qualifies from the limits imposed in this bill. This legislation imposes unduly restrictive methods on boroughs in creating and managing their service areas. It mandates that a majority of voters in the areas, and those affected by the changes outside the service area, vote to approve the change before it can be implemented. This severely restricts the power of boroughs and will diminish the local government's ability to deal effectively and timely with needed changes. This bill has the potential of placing substantive power with a minority of voters, thus shifting the governmental power from the borough assembly, whose members are elected borough-wide, to service area boards whose members are elected only by residents of the service area or appointed. This is contrary to the concept of borough government under art. X, secs. 1, 3, 4, and 5 of the Alaska Constitution, as well as contrary to the concept of liberal home rule powers under art. X, sec. 11 of the Alaska Constitution. 2000-07-14 House Journal Page 3850 HB 133 This bill also raises serious constitutional concerns by imposing limitations on home rule boroughs and unified municipalities. Home rule municipalities have a constitutional grant of authority that gives them liberal control over matters purely of local concern. How service areas are established and governed has historically been dealt with in home rule charters as part of the organic law of a particular home rule municipality. And where a home rule municipality is concerned with a matter of purely local concern, the charter and not a legislative act is looked to in order to determine whether a particular power has been conferred upon the municipality. It would be incongruous to recognize the constitutional provision that a home rule municipality "may exercise all legislative powers not prohibited by law or by charter", and then to say that the power of a home rule city is measured by a legislative act. Lien v. City of Ketchikan, 383P.2d 721, 723 (Alaska 1963). In addition, the exemption from the provisions of this bill provided to only one borough in the state may violate the constitutional prohibition against special and local legislation. Such a specific classification of borough (particularly a general law borough of which there are six others in the state of the same class), coupled with the specific population limitation, makes it questionable whether there is a rational basis to exempt one general law borough from the requirements for the municipal service areas addressed in this bill. This exemption is doubly troublesome considering the limitations of this bill are applied to all home rule boroughs and unified municipalities while one general law borough qualifies for the exemption. This specialized treatment does not appear to have a rational basis stated in the legislative history, and it is incongruous with the constitutional powers granted home rule municipalities. This bill raises serious constitutional violations and, for that reason, I must veto this legislation. Sincerely, /s/ Tony Knowles Governor"