Every 10 years, in accordance with the State Constitution, Alaska voters must be asked an important question.
Article 13, Section 3: Call by Referendum
If during any ten-year period a constitutional convention has not been held, the lieutenant governor shall place on the ballot for the next general election the question: “Shall there be a Constitutional Convention?” If a majority of the votes cast on the question are in the negative, the question need not be placed on the ballot until the end of the next ten-year period. If a majority of the votes cast on the question are in the affirmative, delegates to the convention shall be chosen at the next regular statewide election, unless the legislature provides for the election of the delegates at a special election. The lieutenant governor shall issue the call for the convention. Unless other provisions have been made by law, the call shall conform as nearly as possible to the act calling the Alaska Constitutional Convention of 1955, including, but not limited to, number of members, districts, election and certification of delegates, and submission and ratification of revisions and ordinances. The appropriation provisions of the call shall be self-executing and shall constitute a first claim on the state treasury. [Amended 1970]
Article 13, Section 4: Powers
Constitutional conventions shall have plenary power to amend or revise the constitution, subject only to ratification by the people. No call for a constitutional convention shall limit these powers of the convention.
Special interests have governed Alaska for decades. These special interests fund the election of legislators and the subsequent organization of the State Senate and State House. Then they control you. The people of Alaska should have the last word in Alaska law.
If you believe, as I do, that the people of Alaska should be the ultimate decider of Alaska law, you might consider joining a growing coalition of voters who see the Constitutional Convention as the only remaining means of returning power to the people to curb the special interests.
Let’s deal with three issues that the public supports but the court or a majority of a respective legislative house has blocked:
1. The right to a corruption-free government
2. the right to determine the amount of your Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.
3. The right to life.
Alaskan’s must change the corrupt and biased selection of our judges through the Alaska Judicial Council, which is governed by seven members – four attorneys and three non-attorney members. The four attorney members dictate whom the governor can appoint to their list of “qualified nominees” for a judgeship. A member of the Judicial Council should not be practicing law in front a judge they appointed. The Judicial Council should exclude those with a conflict of interest. Excluding attorneys who could try a case after appointing their candidate for appointment is corrupt. Covering up corruption by a special interest group for the benefit of their members is wrong. The voters can correct this conflict of interest only through a Constitutional Convention.
A Constitutional Convention is an opportunity to take back our government, to reclaim for the people good public policy in Alaska.
The right to determine the dividend of the Alaska Permanent Fund must be ratified by a vote of the people. The Legislature has proved through Special Session after Special Session that it cannot produce a dividend policy that is fair, consistent and sustainable. Convention delegates can and will.
The right to life can be on the ballot in Alaska in 2024. The U. S. Supreme Court could shortly rule that Alaskans, instead of the federal government or courts, can determine the rights of a baby in utero. Will Alaskans continue to be bound by an elusive mandate that the right to privacy and reproductive rights legalizes the taking of innocent human life? The only way for the people to overrule that precedent is through a Constitutional Convention. Rescuing babies with a beating heart could be passed by a majority of Alaskans.
Each of these examples could be added or excluded by elected members of the upcoming Constitutional Convention as outlined in the Alaska Constitution. The original authors provided the path to restrain out of control, special interests that practice conflicts of interests by controlling Alaska law.
I’ve been a registered voter in Alaska since I turned 18 in 1966. I’ve opposed a Constitutional Convention each time since then. But I will vote for the Convention in 2022. Why? Because there is no other path that gives the control of government back to Alaskan citizens. The voters of Alaska are smart and can be trusted to study the issues prior to a vote. A majority of Alaskans must approve each amendment resulting from a Constitutional Convention. Each Alaskan will have the opportunity to weigh in on issues they feel are important. The power will be back where it belongs, with the people.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
Those who oppose the Constitutional Convention appoint judges by putting their thumb on the scales of justice, scoff at the public’s right to set the dividend of the Alaska Permanent Fund and campaign with fear to justify taking an unborn baby’s innocent life.
A Constitutional Convention is an opportunity to take back our government, to reclaim for the people good public policy in Alaska. We have a bright future if we do not forfeit our rights to a clean, unbiased government, our right to protect innocent life and our right to determine our earnings through sustainable dividends. Each of these three rights share a common ancestry. Each has been controlled for decades by special interests. A majority of Alaskans can change that by voting yes for a Constitutional Convention in 2022.
The views expressed here are those of the author.