Anchorage Lawsuit to Challenge Voter Power

An Anchorage lawsuit is set to draw the battle lines for future voter initiatives. The Municipality is challenging a Superior Court decision to allow a referendum on the city’s labor laws, which was brought about by voters.


Anchorage Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler said the case is now headed for the Alaska Supreme Court…


Wheeler: “The court ruled that with respect to his ordinance that it was more policy-setting than administrative, and that therefore, it was something that could go directly to the voters. Our argument is that that’s preempted by our charter when it comes to labor relations, specifically.”


Wheeler said the Supreme Court decision will clarify what authority voters have in bringing forward initiatives and referendums…


Wheeler: “The issues not only affect labor relations, but a whole host of other issues. When you’re talking about whether or not this is something that is a direct democracy issue, i.e. the voters can always either enact or repeal it, or if this is a representative government issue, that is that only the Assembly can deal with these particular issues.”


Wheeler said they’ve filed initial paperwork with the courts and are waiting for them to set briefing due dates.

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