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Legislators should protect, not restrict, Alaskans' rights

Posted: Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I strongly oppose legislation which restricts the initiative process. Rather than its stated purpose to "encourage broad, statewide support," House Bill 31 and House Joint Resolution 5 do the opposite. This proposed legislation would create difficult and unnecessary requirements, which would make initiatives more expensive and difficult to get on the ballot.

Special interests with deep pockets will continue to use the initiative process, while common citizens will be disenfranchised. This proposed change is clearly in opposition to the spirit of the Alaska Constitution and further limits the rights of Alaska citizens.

Earlier this week, Karen Bretz and Uwe Kalenka were arrested for trespassing, while distributing leaflets at the Sullivan Arena. I think our Legislature should work to protect those who peacefully exercise their constitutional rights, rather than attempting to restrict ours. Someone needs to defend our rights, rather than permitting government to assume unrestrained authority over the citizens they serve.

I have been ordered off the road, petitioning for a local initiative during a construction roadblock. I have been ordered to leave U.S. postal property for the same activities. You can justify these actions, if you really wish to hamstring people attempting to exercise their constitutional rights or you can support those who fight for the rights of all Alaskan citizens.

Do not further dilute and ignore our constitutional rights. Contact your legislators. Oppose HB 31 and HJR 5.

James Price

Nikiski



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