Signatures submitted for Alaska good-governance initiative
A group behind a good-governance initiative is submitting signatures to put its proposal before voters.
Alaskans for Integrity provided near 50,000 signatures to the state Division of Elections Friday morning, from people who want to see the Alaska Government Accountability Act on this year’s ballot.
The group’s proposal would require state lawmakers to pass a budget during the Legislature’s regular 90-day session in order to receive their per diem allowances. Lawmakers would also have to declare conflicts of interest involving themselves or family members prior to votes – recusing themselves when necessary – and prove foreign trips “have a legislative purpose” and benefit Alaskans before billing the state for them.
In addition, lobbyists would be restricted from buying “lavish meals and alcoholic beverages” for lawmakers, and corporations “significantly controlled by foreigners” would be barred from spending in statewide and local election campaigns.
The initiative is being sponsored by two state representatives – independent Jason Grenn of Anchorage and Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins of Sitka – as well as Republican Bonnie Jack.
Alaskans for Integrity says lawmakers received base pay of $50,400 last year – plus an average of roughly $37,000 in tax-free per diem, which rises from $275 to $295 a day after the regular session ends. Gov. Bill Walker ultimately called the Legislature into four special sessions, on topics ranging from the budget to crime bill SB 91.
"'If they don't pass a budget, they don't get paid' -- that was the key to get people's signatures," Jack said. "If you didn't do your job, you wouldn't get paid. That's what the residents, the voters of Alaska say."
Grenn, who previously told KTVA he didn’t take any of the extra per diem income, also hailed Friday's news.
“Alaskans from across the political spectrum are enthusiastic about this initiative to make government more accountable,” Grenn said. “A majority of Alaskans are not registered Democrats or Republicans, they just want elected officials to work for the people.”
According to the group, the state has to certify 32,127 signatures as valid for the initiative to appear before voters. Backers had hoped to collect that many by the end of 2017.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.
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