Legislature(1999 - 2000)
1999-05-12 Senate JournalFull Journal pdf
1999-05-12 Senate Journal Page 1380 SB 99 Message dated and received May 11 was read, stating: Under the authority of art. II, sec. 17, of the Alaska Constitution, I am allowing the following bill to become law without my signature: 1999-05-12 Senate Journal Page 1381 SB 99 HOUSE CS FOR CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 99(JUD) am H An Act providing for preparation for redistricting before appointment of the Redistricting Board; relating to preclearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, and legal representation of the state in matters concerning redistricting; clarifying the meaning of decennial census of the United States in art. VI, Constitution of the State of Alaska; relating to adjustment of census numbers by using estimates, population surveys, or sampling in the redistricting of the house of representatives and the senate; and prohibiting expenditures of public funds for population surveys or sampling for certain purposes relating to legislative redistricting without an appropriation; and providing for an effective date. Chapter 18, SLA 1999 Effective Date: 5/12/99 The voters of the state recently amended the State Constitution to change the redistricting process. I support the part of this bill that takes an even-handed approach in planning for the startup of the new redistricting board. If the redistricting board is adequately prepared with all of the modern tools available to complete its assigned task, the best interests of the state will be well served. However, I decline to sign this bill into law because of the provisions that attempt to preempt the redistricting boards powers to interpret and implement the provisions of the Alaska Constitution and to comply with federal law applicable to the redistricting process. To prohibit the redistricting board to use census numbers that may involve sampling is to deny a valuable tool which has been demonstrated to correct undercounting of citizens during the census process. Although it is not known to what extent Alaskans may be undercounted or what effect this may have, this provision elevates partisan politics over the goal of accuracy in census numbers. 1999-05-12 Senate Journal Page 1382 SB 99 The prohibition of the expenditure of funds for and the use of a military survey to adjust population totals for the presence of significant numbers of nonresident military may present serious legal problems for the redistricting process. Alaska is subject to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and requires preclearance of laws affecting voting as well as the states redistricting plans. This preclearance is intended to ensure that voting rights are not diluted, denied or abridged on the basis of race or minority group. A survey of military residency may be required as part of a preclearance process to ensure the voting strength of minority voters is not diluted. This provision may embroil the redistricting process in lengthy and disruptive litigation.