House OKs tougher initiative measure

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004

JUNEAU (AP) Legisla-tion that could make it more difficult to get voter initiatives on the ballot passed the House on Thursday.

The measure had failed by one vote Wednesday, but when it was brought up for reconsideration Thursday, Reps. Nancy Dahlstrom, R-Eagle River, and Carl Moses, D-Unalaska, switched their votes.

That gave the proposed constitutional amendment the 27-vote margin it needed to pass. Rep. John Harris, R-Valdez, had voted for the legislation Wednesday but was absent Thursday.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Bill Williams, R-Sax-man, calls for petitioners to travel to more House districts and gather more signatures in order to get a measure on the ballot.

It would require petitioners to gather enough signatures to equal at least 7 percent of the voter turnout in 30 House districts from the last election.

Under current law, petitioners need to gather signatures equal to 10 percent of the voter turnout in the last election. But they only need to get at least one signature from a registered voter in each of the 27 House districts.

Because the measure is a constitutional amendment it requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate.

If both houses approve the change, it will go to voters in the fall general election.

Voting against the measure were Democrats Ethan Berkowitz, Sharon Cissna, Harry Crawford, Eric Croft, Les Gara, Max Gruenberg, David Guttenberg and Beth Kerttula; and Republicans Carl Gatto, Bob Lynn, Beverly Masek and Bill Stoltze.

The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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