AK Democrats want public vote on initiative to elect
rather than appoint U.S. Senate vacancies...
October 30, 2003
"This filibuster of the people's right to vote by the Murkowski administration has got to end - and soon," said Representative Eric Croft (D-Anchorage) after hearing the decision. "We are counting on the courts to uphold our Alaska initiative rights."
The case is before the court because of continued delays by Attorney General Renkes. The case, filed by Trust the People, a group sponsored by Reps. Croft, Harry Crawford (D-Anchorage) and David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks), was filed in early October. After several weeks of delay by the administration, the court gave an October 27 deadline compelling the AG to quit stalling and either certify or reject the initiative. Tuesday Renkes asked for a further delay. The court said no.
The Alaska Democrats announced that a hearing will be held today at 2:30 p.m. before Judge Rindner to determine if Renkes and Leman have exceeded their authority.
"If an unelected Attorney General can deprive the people of the right to vote on an initiative by simply saying he thinks it might conflict with other laws, then we have no initiative rights," said Rep. Crawford.
No statute gives the Attorney General or the Lt. Governor the power to reject an initiative because they don't like it or believe it may conflict with other laws. Despite this clear limitation on the power of the government over initiatives, Renkes and Leman have rejected the U.S. Senate initiative based on a perceived conflict with the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"This is outrageous. Renkes
hired outside lawyers in an attempt to deprive you and me of
the right to vote on who should represent us in the U.S. Senate,"
said Rep. Guttenberg. "The AG should step aside and stop
treating the people's initiative rights like a political football."
Source of News Release: