Alaska lawmaker wants 1 legislative chamber

Posted: Friday, February 19, 2010

FAIRBANKS - Eliminating Alaska's House of Representatives and expanding the state Senate would make the Legislature more efficient, a lawmaker said in making the proposal.

Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, introduced a resolution Wednesday that would expand the Senate from 20 to 60 seats and eliminate the 40-member House. It also would lower the age that a voter could become a senator from 25 to 21. Voters currently can serve in the House at age 21.

The resolution has been referred to the House Judiciary, Finance and State Affairs committees.

The changes would require a constitutional amendment, Kawasaki said, so a resolution is the appropriate vehicle, not a bill. The plan would have to be approved by the Legislature and a public vote to take effect.

Kawasaki said the change would reduce lawmakers' districts and leave them with fewer constituents.

"I think that there is some efficiency in one legislative body rather than a House and a Senate," he said.

Nebraska is the only state with one legislative chamber.

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