Support for SB 80: An Act related to initiative severability 
 Testimony before Senate State Affairs • April 11, 2019

Good afternoon Chair Shower and members of Senate State Affairs, my name is Marleanna Hall, I am the executive director for the Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. RDC is an Alaskan trade association with members in fishing, forestry, mining, oil and gas, and tourism, as well as the 12 land owning regional Native corporations, labor, individuals, and others supporting the responsible development of Alaska’s natural resources. 

RDC has reviewed SB 80, and I’m here today to request the members of SSTA pass the bill out of committee. In addition to a written letter of support I submitted earlier today, I’d like to briefly share additional points in support of why we need SB 80.

As you’re aware, Alaska voters have the ability to participate in the legislative process by either passing law or overturning law through the ballot measure process. Voters can support initiatives by writing them, signing on to them, and voting for what is proposed. Throughout these three actions, the language should remain unchanged from what is signed in support of. SB 80 would remove the courts ability to sever language, leaving the language untouched.

As the law is currently written, rather than ensuring that ballot initiative language passes legal and constitutional muster before being presented to voters, RDC is concerned groups will rely on Alaska’s courts for legal editing services. 

SB 80 will send a message to proponents that the language of the initiative must be carefully drafted to ensure it is constitutional.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments today.