SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Bill vetoed that would prevent implementation of same-sex benefits
Vows to Work with Legislature on Solution


December 29, 2006

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin vetoed a bill which would prevent the Commissioner of Administration from implementing a court order to provide same-sex benefits without first getting specific statutory authority from the legislature. Palin vetoed HB4001 late Thursday afternoon under the authority vested in her by Article 11, Section 15 of the Alaska Constitution. This is the Governor's first veto.

"The Department of Law advised me that this bill, HB4001, is unconstitutional given the recent Court order of December 19th, mandating same-sex benefits," said Governor Sarah Palin. "With that in mind, signing this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office."

HB4001 passed during the special session of the Legislature in the final month of the Murkowski administration. The bill prohibited the commissioner of the department of administration from adopting same-sex regulations, allowing them to become law, or implementing them. In the Department of Law opinion passed along to the Governor, Attorney General Talis Colberg writes, "the bill effectively eliminated the regulatory process as a way to comply with the Court's order to provide same-sex domestic partner benefits for state employees and members of state retirement systems." Colberg further states that the December 19, 2006 order is "legally sufficient to authorize the commission of administration to expand state employee health benefits or change the retirement systems to provide benefits for same-sex domestic partners."

The Governor's veto does not signal any change or modification to her disagreement with the action and order by the Alaska Supreme Court. It is the Governor's intention to work with the legislature and to give the people of Alaska an opportunity to express their wishes and intentions whether these benefits should continue.

"The Supreme Court has ordered adoption of the regulations by the State of Alaska to begin providing benefits January 1," said Governor Palin on December 20th at which time she announced that the recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Alaska, the State of Alaska's regulations were in effect to begin providing state benefits to same sex partners beginning January 1, 2007.. "We have no more judicial options. We may disagree with the rationale behind the ruling, but our responsibility is to proceed forward with the law and follow the Constitution."

In addition to adoption of the regulations on December 20th, Governor Palin signed HB4002, which calls for a statewide advisory vote, proposed by the Legislature during its November special session.

"I disagree with the recent court decision because I feel as though Alaskans spoke on this issue with its overwhelming support for a Constitutional Amendment in 1998 which defined marriage as between a man and woman. But the Supreme Court has spoken and the state will abide," said the Governor on December 20th.

The Court-ordered regulations are already in effect in accordance with the December 19th order.



Sources of News:

Office of Governor Palin


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska