In less than two weeks Alaskans will head to the polls for the state's primary election. Not only will they be choosing who will appear on the general election ballot in November, but they'll be voting on two hot-button ballot measures.
Ballot Measure 1 is an initiative that would ban the use of public funds for political campaigns and lobbying by state and local government agencies and school districts. Among other things, it also would ban legislators and their staff from being employed by government contract holders for two years after leaving state service.
This measure limits participation in the political process, plain and simple. Why would we want to prohibit paying the expenses of city council, assembly and school board members who travel to Juneau or Washington, D. C., to lobby for their constituents? Those elected officials are the voice of the public. This measure, in effect, hands over more power to corporations with deep pockets. While proponents claim it will curb the growth of government, what Ballot Measure 1 would do in reality is stifle the public voice. We need more participation in government, not less.
Ballot Measure 2 would change state law to require notice to the parent or guardian of a female younger than 18 before she has an abortion. The bill allows a minor who is the victim of abuse by a parent or guardian to get an abortion without notice or consent.
Opponents characterize this measure as another government mandate. They're right that "no law can mandate family communication." They're also right that there are better answers to teen pregnancy: education, prevention, including abstinence, and strong families.
Strong families are created when parents are involved in their children's lives, not by absolving parents of their responsibilities. If parents can be kept out of the loop when their children face potentially life-changing decisions, why bother them with the little things -- permission slips for field trips, approval for other medical procedures and the myriad of day-in-and-day-out details of life? Where do you draw the line of acceptable parental involvement and who draws it and when?
In general, kids need more parental involvement, not less. The rights of good parents should not be taken away because there are some bad parents out there.
Agree with us or disagree, the important thing is to vote on Aug. 24.
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