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Governor Ceremonially Signs 2 House Bills
Also Signs SB382 on Right-of-Way Acquired through Eminent Domain


May 25, 2004

Juneau, Alaska - Governor Frank Murkowski Monday morning ceremonially signed two bills at Auke Bay Elementary School. The laws will take effect after the official bills are received from the presiding officers of the Legislature and signed. The bills are HB 467, setting up a Commemorative Quarters Commission, and HB 93, extending the sunset date of the Alaska Boating Safety Program.

Later Monday morning Murkowski also signed SB 382, which affirms a long-standing practice of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities relating to right-of-way acquired through eminent domain.

HB 467, sponsored by Anchorage Rep. Tom Anderson, establishes a commission to recommend to the US Mint design elements Alaskans would like incorporated into the design of the state's commemorative quarter, scheduled to be issued in 2008. The Mint will then provide five possible designs, consistent with the recommendations and with the designs for the other 49 states' quarters.

The Auke Bay school site was chosen for the bill signing because Joann Jones' fifth grade class closely followed and testified in favor of passage of the commemorative quarters bill. Rep. Weyhrauch's daughter, Maria, testified in favor of an amendment that would have opened up appointment of a member on the commission to include home-schooled students, as well as elementary school students. In the final version, the home-schoolers are included, but the seat is restricted to secondary students. The House State Affairs committee did adopt a letter of intent that recommended a design contest that would be open to Alaskans of all ages.

"I was glad to be able to sign the commemorative quarters bill at Auke Bay School, because Ms. Jones' class did a good job in helping to craft the bill," Murkowski said. "It was an excellent lesson in how legislation works, and the final act of making a law is when the Governor signs the bill."

HB 93, sponsored by Juneau Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, makes a number of minor changes to the state's boating safety program and extends its sunset date from 2005 to 2010.

"Alaskans live, work and recreate on the water, and should all be aware that accidental drowning is one of the most common causes of death in our state," Murkowski said. "Sadly, this weekend's news stories, with drownings near Tok and on the Kenai Peninsula, underscore the need for everyone to wear a life vest. It is the goal of the boating safety program to increase that awareness, and reduce the loss of life."

On hand for signing of the boating safety bill were Rear Admiral James Underwood, outgoing commander of the 17th District; Rear Admiral James Olson, incoming commander of the 17th District; Lt. Commander Sue Workman, director of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, 17th District; Rep. Weyhrauch; former Rep. Bill Hudson, who was the original sponsor of the boating safety legislation in 1999; Jeff Johnson, the state's boating law administrator, and other officials connected with the boating safety program.

SB 382 was drafted in response to several recent lawsuits that challenged DOT&PF's authority to condemn certain properties because it did not participate in the subdivision review process that applies to private landowners. The bill clarifies that the department may follow a different procedure, thus affirming a practice that has been in place for nearly 30 years. Although the lawsuits that threatened the C Street extension and the construction of the Kenai River bridge have been settled, the potential for harm to other projects would have remained possible if the bill had not been passed.


Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
Web Site



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