Vic Fischer testifies on education voucher program

Vic Fischer

Vic Fischer. (Image courtesy 360 North)

One of the drafters of the state constitution has weighed in on a proposed amendment to that document.

Vic Fischer appeared before the House education committee on Friday to oppose a resolution that could allow for public funding of religious schools through vouchers. He cautioned legislators against taking a casual attitude when considering constitutional changes.

“To me the basic question is, ‘Are we solving a nonexisting problem at this point?’ And the burden is on those who say we should amend the constitution,” Fischer says.

Fischer, who also served as a state senator and in the territorial legislature, also explained that the amendment prohibiting funding of religious and private schools was not seen as controversial by the delegates to the constitutional convention. He said that the language — known as a Blaine Amendment — passed unanimously.

“So it’s not as if some kind of an amendment — Blaine Amendment — had horns on it and was something awful,” Fischer added.

In addition to hearing from Fischer, the education committee took testimony on the resolution from residents across the state. Opinion was mixed: Some argued that state funding of religious schools could create more options for parents, and others said it would weaken the separation of church and state and that it could drain money from public schools.

For an amendment to the constitution to be made, it has to pass both chambers of the legislature with a two-thirds vote. After that, Alaskans have to approve the change by a majority vote.

Recent headlines

  • dollar bill money macro

    Per diems driving special session costs

    Lawmakers who represent areas outside Juneau receive $295 for each day of the special session. Juneau lawmakers receive $221.25 per day.
  • Caroline Hoover proudly pins an Alaska Territorial Guard medal on the front of her father's parka during an official discharge ceremony held Oct. 17 in Kipnuk, Alaska. David Martin is one of three surviving members of the Alaska Territorial Guard's Kipnuk unit. A total of 59 residents of Kipnuk, who volunteered to defend Alaska in the event of a Japanese invasion during World War II, were recognized during the ceremony. Kipnuk residents who served with the Alaska Territorial Guard from 1942-1947 were members of a U.S. Army component organized in response to attacks by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. (Photo by Jerry Walton, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs cultural resource manager and native liaison/public domain/Wikimedia Commons)

    16 Alaska Territorial Guard vets to be honored in Anchorage

    Sixteen veterans of the Alaska Territorial Guard will be honored at a discharge ceremony today. Four of them are from Western Alaska.
  • Don Andrew Roguska looks out from an upstairs window of an historic Juneau house he bought in 2016 to restore. Zoning regulations have prevented him from rebuilding in the same style. (Photo by Jacob Resneck/KTOO)

    Juneau mulls relaxing zoning rules for historic houses

    The historic houses in Juneau and Douglas were predominately built by miners and fishermen long before today's zoning was put into place. That's prevented homeowners from restoring or rebuilding homes in these neighborhoods without running into conflict with the city's zoning laws -- a temporary fix may be on the way.
  • Young joins Afghanistan war skeptics in Congress

    Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young wants to know why Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan. He has co-sponsored a bill that would end funding for the war in a year, unless the president and Congress affirm the need for it.