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Changes to law may prevent costly referendum

By Bonney Bowman 9:46 PM June 3, 2014

Changes to a controversial labor law may stop an upcoming referendum.

At an Anchorage Assembly labor subcommittee meeting Tuesday, Assemblywoman Jennifer Johnston presented 29 pages of amendments to AO-37, the law which put limits on unions’ abilities to negotiate.

Johnston’s changes would stop the law from going to a vote of the people, but fellow Assemblyman Dick Traini said he’d rather repeal the bill completely.

“AO-37 was a disaster from the moment is came to the Assembly floor. And the whole process, with some people denied the opportunity to testify, was pathetic. I’m more inclined to just kill it off and start over again,” Traini said.

Traini said he plans to propose the repeal at next Tuesday’s Assembly meeting. It will then be up for public comment two weeks later. AO-37 is currently on the books, but suspended pending the outcome of the referendum.

Traini said if the measure goes to a referendum, the election could cost voters more than $400,000.

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