The leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion on Roe v. Wade rightly kicked off a firestorm of outrage across the United States and Alaska. In Alaska, where the courts have consistently upheld the state's constitutional right to privacy as a bulwark against laws seeking to overturn reproductive rights, the constitution is in the crosshairs of national and state-level conservatives. The question of whether the state should open up its constitution to a convention and likely significant revisions has been rejected by the voters every ten years it has come up since statehood. For a good reason: too much polarization and too much money are at play for anything to emerge from a constitutional convention exercise except for a partisan, lobbyist-influenced document that is home to the priorities of national groups like the Koch Brothers. A convention-written document would deprive Alaskans of fundamental rights (like the right to privacy) and dismantle tools of societal cohesion such as public education.
In the Alaska State Legislature, bills seeking to reimpose campaign contribution limits face long odds after the Alaska Public Offices Commission voted to strike down rules implementing a $1500 limit per individual. Currently, the money-spend potential is unlimited, which could lead to a campaign season like nothing we have ever seen.
Bills to both increase and decrease access to voting are crashing against one another as the session nears its terminus in Mid May. Whether S.B. 39 and H.B. 66 are reconciled into a grand bargain package of voting law changes has yet to be seen. We know that voter fraud's "Big Lie" persists and is at the heart of election restriction proposals. The belief that more Alaskans should have access to the voting franchise is at the heart of arguments to make it easier to register, to vote by mail, and to have your vote count if a simple mistake is made on a by-mail ballot.
The Alaska Center has fought to empower Alaskans for over fifty years. We believe that all Alaskans deserve clean air and water, healthy salmon, personal respect, dignity, safety, and their voices heard in the political process. We have worked this past year to increase access to the tools of a thriving democracy by supporting legislation at the state and federal levels to expand voting access. These are the tools that will help prevent outside corporate interests from taking over the levers of our constitutional system of laws. These are the tools that will protect Alaska's women's privacy and medical freedom. These tools will prevent our politics and campaigns from being overrun by millionaires and billionaires.
Join us this Saturday from 5-7 p.m. at the Alaska Native Heritage Center for a COVID-Safe outdoor spring auction where we will celebrate the fight to grow Democracy. This year's event, Democracy for All, will highlight our work to protect and enhance our Democracy. We believe a true democracy is one in which everyone feels safe, respected, and able to participate in the decisions impacting our communities.
Government Affairs Director
The Alaska Center
Tickets are still available at the door and the silent auction is live now.
This is a COVID-conscious event so please be prepared to present proof of vaccination for yourself and your children.
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