Laws governing local ballot measures in Alaska
- 1 Types of local government
- 2 School districts
- 3 Local recall rules
- 4 Initiative process availability
- 5 Authority
- 6 Initiative process features
- 7 Initiative process in the top 10 most populated cities
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
|I • II • III • IV • V • VI • VII • VIII • IX • X • XI • XII • XIII • XIV • XV|
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This article sets out the laws governing local ballot measures in Alaska. It explains:
- Which local units of government make the initiative process available to residents.
- How and whether local units of government, including school districts, can refer local ballot measures (such as school bond propositions) to the ballot.
- An overview of laws governing local recall elections.
Note that Alaska is one of twenty-four states that allow the initiative process at the statewide level.
Types of local government
Local government in Alaska consists of:
- Organized boroughs: the entire state of Alaska is divided into 18 organized boroughs and 1 unorganized borough. 6 of the organized boroughs are consolidated with a particular city and operate as a unified government.
The organized boroughs of Alaska are:
- Aleutians East Borough, Bristol Bay Borough, City & Borough of Juneau, City & Borough of Sitka, City & Borough of Wrangell, City & Borough of Yakutat, Denali Borough, Fairbanks Northstar Borough, Haines Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Kodiak Island Borough, Lake and Peninsula Borough, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Municipality of Anchorage, Municipality of Skagway, North Slope Borough, Northwest Arctic Borough
- Cities: as of February, 2000 Alaska had 145 city governments.
Federal laws allowed the incorporation of cities in Alaska beginning in 1900. The first city government incorporated in Alaska was the City of Skagway. On June 5, 2007, voters approved dissolution of the City of Skagway and instead incorporated it as the first first-class borough in the State of Alaska.
- In addition, there are 15 special districts.
Boroughs may be classified as:
- First class borough.
- Second class borough.
- Third class borough.
- Home rule charter borough.
Any general law borough may adopt and operate under a home rule charter.
The following boroughs operate under a home rule charter (with the year of charter adoption):
- Municipality of Anchorage (1975), Denali Borough (1990), City and Borough of Juneau (1970), Lake and Peninsula Borough (1989), North Slope Borough (1974), Northwest Arctic Borough (1987), City and Borough of Sitka (1971), City and Borough of Yakutat (1992), Haines Borough (2002), City and Borough of Wrangell (2008)
Cities in Alaska are classified as:
- First class city.
- Second class city.
- Home rule charter city.
The following cities operate under a home rule charter (with the year of charter adoption in parentheses):
- Cordova (1960), Fairbanks (1960), Kenai (1963), Ketchikan (1960), Kodiak (1965), Nenana (1982), North Pole (1970), Palmer (1962), Petersburg (1960), Seward (1960), Valdez (1961)
Alaska's first and second class cities are general law cities. The laws that govern their powers, duties and functions are defined by state law. A home rule city may exercise all legislative powers not prohibited by law or by charter.
| Ballot Law Portal|
|Laws Governing Ballot Measures|
- See also: School bond and tax elections in Alaska
There are no school bond and tax elections in Alaska. All approval of school construction projects and bonding is approved by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.
Local recall rules
|A guide to local ballot initiatives|
The recall of local government officials in Alaska is governed by Alaska Statute 29.26.240 through 29.26.360.
These statutes apply to:
- "An official who is elected or appointed to an elective municipal office."
- Members of public school district school boards in the state.
Alaska's municipal governments include both home rule and charter governments, and the local recall law explicitly says that the state statute for local recall governs both "home rule and general law municipalities".
- For additional detail, see: Laws governing recall in Alaska
Initiative process availability
An initiative process is available in:
- All general law cities, which have a mandated initiative process for ordinances.
- All 11 charter cities, which must include initiative for ordinances in the charter. Charters may also permit initiative for charter amendments.
- All general law boroughs, which have a mandated initiative process for ordinances.
- All 10 charter boroughs which must include initiative for ordinances in the charter. Charters may also permit initiative for charter amendments..
|Local I&R Laws in the 50 States|
|Source:Local Ballot Initiatives: How citizens change laws with |
clipboards, conversations, and campaigns
Alaska Constitution, Article X, Section 9, 10, and 11 authorize the adoption of home rule charters. Section 11 states "A home rule borough or city may exercise all legislative powers not prohibited by law or by charter."
The ability of Alaskans to use the initiative process in general law municipalities in the state is set forth in Alaska's State Statute 29.26.100, which says, "The powers of initiative and referendum are reserved to the residents of municipalities, except the powers do not extend to matters restricted by art. XI, Sec. 7 of the state constitution."
In charter municipalities, the charters must provide for initiative under Alaska Statute 29.10.030, which says, "A home rule charter shall provide procedures for initiative and referendum. A charter may not require an initiative or referendum petition to have a number of signatures greater than 25 percent of the total votes cast in the municipality at the last regular election. A charter may not permit the initiative and referendum to be used for a purpose prohibited by art. XI, Sec. 7 of the state constitution."
Alaska Statute 29.10.100 states that "A home rule charter may be amended as provided in the charter, except that no amendment is effective unless ratified by the voters." Some charters allow amendment by initiative, while others do not.
Initiative process features
The initiative process for general law cities is detailed in the Alaska Statutes 29.26.110-29.26.190.
Initiative process in the top 10 most populated cities
7 of the 10 municipalities below are governed by a home rule charter. Charter municipalities may differ from the state statutes and set their own requirements for initiative. The information below comes from the specific city charter or code. Click on the citation links to read the full requirements for the initiative process. In addition, Alaska Statute 29.10.200 lists the limitation of home rule powers of charter municipalities.
|List of Most Populated Cities in Alaska|
|City||Population||City Type||Next election|
|Anchorage||295,570||Charter as consolidated city-borough||April 2, 2013|
|Juneau||32,164||Charter as consolidated city-borough||October 1, 2013|
|Fairbanks||32,036||Charter||October 8, 2013|
|Sitka||8,952||Charter as consolidated city-borough||October 1, 2013|
|Ketchikan||8,119||Charter||October 1, 2013|
|Wasilla||8,092||General law||October 1, 2013|
|Kenai||7,218||Charter||October 1, 2013|
|Kodiak City||6,256||Charter||October 1, 2013|
|Bethel||6,219||General law||October 1, 2013|
|Palmer||6,122||General law||October 1, 2013|
- Laws governing ballot measures
- Laws governing local ballot measures
- Local ballot measures, Alaska
- Boroughs in Alaska
- Cities in Alaska
- Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development, Local Boundary Commission website homepage
- Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development, "Local Government in Alaska", February 2000
- The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 study of local governments
- Alaska Statute Sec. 29.10.010
- Alaska Statute Sec. 29.05.011
- Alaska Constitution, Article X, Section 11
- Alaska Local Government Online
- Ballotpedia: Types and #'s of local government by state
- Alaska Statutes 29.26.110
- US Census Bureau "City and Town Totals: Vintage 2011 (Population figures as of 2011 Census estimates)
- US Census, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Alaska: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011