Knowles allows attorney general changes to become law

Posted: Thursday, June 08, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- Dismissing the measure as largely symbolic, Gov. Tony Knowles let a bill requiring the attorney general to uphold the state and federal constitutions become law without his signature.

Senate Bill 286 was sponsored by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Committee Chairman Robin Taylor, R-Wrangell, has been critical of Knowles and Attorney General Bruce Botelho for not fighting the federal government harder on issues where state and federal law clash, such as the rural subsistence priority.

''The sponsors of the bill have given the false impression that the bill materially affects the powers of the attorney general,'' Knowles wrote Wednesday in a letter to Senate President Drue Pearce. ''The bill is largely symbolic because the provisions that it would enact create no new duties and merely restate powers that are already expressly covered or clearly implied in other statutes.''

The attorney general is an appointed member of Knowles' cabinet.

Taylor and others in the Legislature's GOP majority have advocated for an elected attorney general who could act more independently. Taylor did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday afternoon.

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