Undertake an Initiative Campaign
Constitutional and Statutory Provisions
Historical Information (Division of Elections)
Alaska became the 20th initiative state when it entered the Union
in 1959. A total of 41 initiatives have appeared on the ballot through 2007.
Alaska’s constitution does not allow constitutional amendments by initiative,
and prohibits measures that dedicate revenue or appropriate money.
first three initiatives (and four of the first six) concerned the location of
the state capital.
first initiative, in 1960, asked voters to move the capital from Juneau to
Anchorage, which is closer to the population center. That proposal was rejected,
as was a similar measure in 1962. Voters finally approved an initiative to
relocate the state capitol in 1974, but the legislature failed to appropriate
funds for the move. Voters approved another initiative in 1978, this time
requiring the state to determine the cost of relocation and requiring voter
approval for any related bond issue. The bond issue went to the voters in 1980,
and they rejected it. The voters rejected another attempt to relocate the
capital, this time to Wasilla, in 1994. That year they also approved an
initiative giving the public the right to know the cost of relocating the state
capital. Most recently, in 2002, voters passed an initiative to move the
sessions of the legislature from Juneau to the Matanuska-Susitna borough in the
Anchorage metro area.
Initiatives concerning wildlife and natural resources have also
been common on the ballot, with mixed results for environmentalists. Fishing
measures were on the ballot in 1976 and 1982. Voters banned airborne hunting of
wolves in 1994, but rejected a proposed ban on the use of snares for trapping
wolves (1998) and ban on bear baiting (2004). A bottle deposit law was rejected
in 1978. A call for a nuclear weapon freeze was approved in 1986.
A series of drug legalization measures have also appeared. A 1990
measure that reduced penalties for marijuana possession was approved, but
proposals to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for private
use were rejected in 2000 and 2004.