The opinion piece in your February 28 issue on the proposed constitutional amendment, while factual on some things has some serious flaws.
In the second paragraph the author asserts that after the House and Senate pass the legislation it becomes law. It in fact gets referred to the people for ratification, appearing on the ballot in 2014. It is a big step and one that demands the 9 months of inquiry and debate the legislation if passed will be afforded. The people have the final say.
This is not the first amendment to the constitutution we have had 16 of 46 instituted. Some are familiar to your readers.
Limited entry, added to the constitution, to provide Alaskans a chance at the sea’s bounty. Many people living on the Kenai this amendment to make a living.
The Permanant Fund which from whose funds the dividend is paid. A very unpopular idea in the legislature at the time of Hammond it just made it out of the legislature. Imagine life on the Kenai without these two constitutional amendments.
The author has a problem with the religious schools funding. So did the framers of Alaska’s constitution. On day 48 they even went so far as to debate if they wanted the word Parochial in the constitution. It was defeated, so was the clause to ban indirect aide.
Sign of the times, we had a state that was separate but equal for its education system. The framers were talking about the education of the whites. Natives were enrolled in the Federal education system run by BIA. High schools in villages were non-existant. Many of the Elders owed their education to the missionary schools that brought religion and education to the Natives. It was most certainly not the miners, trappers and railroad men and women.
Fast forward 50 years, we have now had several major court decisions. Hootsch made rural high schools possible. It was once again the Hammond administration that decided we were in violation of discrimination laws.
Sheldon Jackson decision, ending a program meant to provide college grants to all Alaskan students, not the performance scholarship. A $2,500 grant to help more students achieve college education. It was the failure of the constitutional amendment that allowed the Alaska supreme court to end this program. I wish the state still provided this to every Alaska high school student, but that pesky Anti-Catholic sentence in our constitution ended a good program.
Keller and other sponsors realize we are at the limit of what we can provide as a state to our children, with out a change. They are asking for support to see if the people agree.