A superior court judge has ruled in favor of an initiative to ban commercial set netting for salmon in urban areas.
Earlier this year, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell blocked the initiative sponsors from collecting signatures in their effort to appear on the ballot. The decision was based on a recommendation from the Department of Law that the measure would qualify as an unconstitutional appropriation. The state also argued that such an initiative would count as an allocation to sportfishermen and that it would erode the authority of the Board of Fisheries.
Superior Court Judge Catherine Easter dismissed those arguments, finding that the initiative does not qualify as a give-away program and that it is a permissible regulatory measure.
The Department of Law is currently reviewing the decision to see if an appeal is appropriate. The Division of Elections will begin preparing signature booklets in the meantime.
The initiative is being sponsored by the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, with the aim of getting it on the 2016 ballot. It is backed by key sportfishing interests, including real estate developer and major political funder Bob Penney. The group argues that set net gear should be prohibited to reduce the number of king salmon taken by the commercial sector.
The measure would shut down the commercial set netters who operate on Cook Inlet, the only region in the state that would be practically affected by the ban.
- The Crystal Serenity cruise ship is making a 32-day voyage from Anchorage to New York City. Meanwhile, the potential environmental impact of a journey of that scope has some worried.
- Students will be entering a brand-new school for the first time when classes start Monday. It's located at the same site as the scene of the tragedy and the architects were inspired by nature.
- Sponsors of a voter initiative to ban commercial marijuana businesses in the City of Fairbanks submitted over 500 signatures Friday in an effort to get the measure on the fall 2017 ballot.
- Enrollment numbers have increased in two of the three schools and the district welcomes several newcomers to its faculty. Combined enrollment at the three schools is an estimated 473 students to start off the year, up from 431 just two years ago.