Pro-move group drops its legislative move fight

Posted: Friday, October 11, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- A ballot initiative to move the Legislature to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough lost its chief backer this week.

Alaskans for Efficient Government will no longer campaign to move the Legislature from Juneau, said group president Uwe Kalenka. The group will instead focus on an unrelated ballot measure for the 2004 election, he said.

The legislative move measure will still be decided by voters in the Nov. 5 general election. The measure proposes moving the Legislature to the Matanuska-Susitna region or to Anchorage if adequate space is not available.

Alaskans for Efficient Government was behind the petition drive to get the issue on the ballot. This group has also advocated past initiatives to move the capital from Juneau.

The group argued that Juneau cannot be reached by road and the Legislature should be more accessible to Alaskans.

The two leading candidates for governor, Democrat Fran Ulmer and Republican Frank Murkowski, were opposed to the initiative and a recent poll showed little voter support.

The Juneau-based opposition group, Alaska Committee, will continue to fight the initiative, said chairman Win Gruening.

Alaskans for Efficient Government said it would concentrate efforts on a proposed 2004 initiative to require the Legislature to seek public approval before using Alaska Permanent Fund revenues for state government.

It is also considering a ballot measure to reduce the length of the Legislative session to 60 days, Kalenka said.

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