Breaking: ACMP initiative sponsors submit nearly 34,000 signatures

Backers of a citizens’ initiative to re-establish an Alaska Coastal Management Program delivered nearly 34-thousand signatures to the Division of Elections in Anchorage this morning (Tuesday).

That’s about 8-thousand more than the Alaska Sea Party needs to have the measure placed on this year’s statewide ballot. Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho is the group’s chairman.

“Because of our desire to make sure that the issue was taken up in the 2012 election cycle rather than the 2014 election cycle, it required that we conclude our drive before the legislature convened today,” Botelho says.

The group is hoping lawmakers will enact “substantially similar” legislation rather than let the issue go to a vote. The coastal management program, which served as a state and federal permit coordination agency, closed last year after the legislature failed to reach an agreement to reauthorize it. But the Sea Party members think lawmakers can work out a deal this year.

The Division of Elections will review the signatures to make sure at least 25,875 of them are from valid Alaska voters and that the Sea Party collected signatures of at least 7 percent of registered voters in 30 of the state’s 40 house districts.

If the legislature adjourns in 90 days without passing a similar bill, the measure will go on the August primary ballot. If the legislature takes longer than 90 days to adjourn, the initiative will appear on the November ballot.

This is a breaking story. Check back for details.