Juneau voters differed with state on sessions

Posted: Friday, March 02, 2007

A ballot measure requiring 90-day legislative sessions did poorly in Juneau, where many staff members live and where many business owners worried that it would be bad for business.

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The Alaska Committee chose not to organize a campaign against the measure, however. They feared such a campaign might simply make Juneau appear greedy and interfere with the group's primary mission of fighting capital move efforts, said Win Gruening, chairman of the committee.

The measure failed in Juneau last November with 63 percent of voters opposed and 37 percent in favor.

Statewide, the measure passed narrowly, winning by less than 4,000 votes out of more than 238,000 cast.

Despite the narrow victory, measure advocate Rep. Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks, said that was all it needed.

"It was really the will of the people," he said. "All it takes is one vote (margin of victory). The rest of it is all padding."

The Alaska Constitution mandates a 120-day session. Ramras' ballot measure changed the statute regarding session lengths, but not the constitution. Constitutional amendments are more difficult to pass.

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