Legislature(1999 - 2000)

1999-05-12 Senate Journal

Full 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