An initiative that would add another roadblock to the Pebble Mine project will appear on the ballot this fall, now that a legal challenge against it has failed.
The Alaska Supreme Court issued an expedited order on Monday saying that the Bristol Bay Forever initiative was constitutional. The order comes less than two weeks after the justices heard the case. The lawsuit was brought by a coalition of mining groups, who believe the initiative is invalid because it only regulates mining in one part of the state. The Alaska Constitution does not allow statewide initiatives to deal with local matters.
But initiative sponsors and the Alaska Division of Elections defended the ballot proposition, which would require the Legislature to approve large-scale mining operations in the Bristol Bay region. They argued that the health of that watershed and its salmon fishery is an issue of statewide importance.
The Supreme Court still has to issue a formal opinion explaining their judgment, but the two-page order allows the Division of Elections to go ahead with preparing the November 4 ballot.
- The Juneau Assembly declined to pass a broaden sales tax exemption for seniors. Opposition from businesses prodded elected officials to refer the initiative back to committee.
- Fines for pet owners whose for critters scooped up by animal control officers have gone up. The fees hadn't been adjusted for nearly 17 years.
- Local education officials are applying for state money to replace and repair leaky roofs at several Juneau schools. About $5 million is coming in over the next five years earmarked for school maintenance from sales tax money that voters approved in the Oct. 3 election.
- "They’re calling it GTA, grand theft Anchorage, right now," said Rep. Lora Reinbold, who says she wants to repeal Senate Bill 91. "It’s outrageous, what’s going on in the city that I love.”