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Stop the Gag Law. We are a diverse group of citizens, business owners, and public servants concerned about the “anti-corruption” ballot initiative’s far reaching consequences for Alaskans. We are concerned about the out-of-state interests who have placed this on the ballot – what’s next?
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Stop the Gag Law • We are a diverse group of citizens, business owners, and public servants concerned about the “anti-corruption” ballot initiative’s far reaching consequences for Alaskans. • We are concerned about the out-of-state interests who have placed this on the ballot – what’s next? • This initiative gags free speech and will cut huge numbers of people out of the political process, while creating an administrative and legal nightmare
3 Truths and 1 Lie • The ballot initiative is constitutional. • Will result in Alaskans voting away the rights of their neighbors. • Punishes businesses worse than unions. • Hampers the work of non-profits and communities.
The Lie • Just because an initiative is on the ballot does not make it constitutional. • Initiatives do not have to pass a constitutionality screening before being placed on the ballot. • If you secure the right number of signatures, you are on the ballot regardless of the constitutional implications.
AG’s opinion, 12/07 • “While we recommend the initiative be certified, we do note some legal issues with the bill. We raise these issues here…” former Attorney General Talis Colberg, from his review of the “anti corruption” initiative, Dec. 18, 2007 • “…the U.S. Supreme Court is vigilant with respect to protecting First Amendment rights in the campaign finance context.” • “…the bans proposed here (particularly with regard to the bans on campaign spending by persons holding small public contracts) are quite broad and may not pass muster. We are particularly concerned about the prohibitions on campaign expenditures …”
The Initiative • The Anti-Corruption Initiative will not: • Prevent unethical behavior in state government. • Prevent corruption in the Legislature or administration. • Anti-Corruption Initiative does not: • Address the scandal in which a number of legislators were convicted of accepting money from Veco. • Will not prevent this type of action from occurring in the future.
The Real Initiative • The Anti-Corruption Initiative WILL: • Take away your right to free speech. • Take away your neighbors’ right to free speech. • Prohibit thousands of Alaskans from making political donations. • Prohibit union dues payroll deduction. • Impact communities. • Impact non-profits. • Impact businesses.
The Real Initiative • The initiative is designed to penalize those Alaskans involved in collective bargaining agreements. • The initiative impacts your free speech, cuts Alaskans out of the political process and will most lead to a number of lawsuits because of the unconstitutional nature of the initiative. • Eliminates dues deduction for public employees. • Impacts YOU and your FAMILY!
How did we get here? • Brought to Alaska by a New York multimillionaire. • Similar efforts failed in Colorado, South Dakota and Montana. • Rooted in a philosophy that government shouldn’t be much more than civil defense.
Why Should I Care? • Defines your collective bargaining agreement as a “no bid” government contract. • Prohibits any Alaskan (you) who holds a government contract larger that $500 from making political contributions to political candidates. • Depending on how you read it, this may be anyone covered by a collective bargaining agreement. • The ban extends to the contract-holder’s ‘immediate family,’ which includes parents, aunts, uncles, children and stepchildren, and even in-laws.
Businesses • Prohibits any Alaskan who holds a government contract larger that $500 from making political contributions to candidates. • The ban extends to the contract-holder’s ‘immediate family,’ which includes parents, aunts, uncles, children and stepchildren, and even in-laws. • The initiative would not apply to large multinational corporations whose contracting offices are out-of-state.
Nonprofits • Board members of nonprofits who receive city or state funds would be prohibited from making contributions to certain candidates for office. • Will hamper the ability of nonprofits to recruit board members, who may not want to serve because of the impact serving would have on their free speech. • Hurts the ability of nonprofits to raise money from all sources.
Communities • Outlaws municipal-funded lobbying, which is how local governments communicate their needs to the legislature in Juneau. This impact would shift the balance of power even more toward Alaska’s urban centers, which have the most political representation. • Public employees like firefighters, police, nurses and teachers would not be allowed to talk to lawmakers about their issues unless invited.
Elections What percentage of Alaskans are within two degrees of kinship with a person who holds a $500 government contract? The initiative would prohibit public funding of elections. Who is left to contribute to campaigns?
Communities • Creates and urban/rural divide as rural communities will find it harder to secure funding and support for community projects and have even less of a voice in the process. • Prohibits elected officials from soliciting funds from anyone who holds government contract larger than $500 (plus their entire immediate family), creating a huge bureaucratic mess trying to determine who is allowed to give.
Next Steps Stop the Gag Law is building a broad-based and politically diverse coalition to demonstrate to voters that this initiative has no place in Alaska law.
Groups in Support • The Alaska Municipal League • Alaska AFL-CIO • The Alaska State Chamber of Commerce • AARP Alaska • Anchorage Police Department Employees Association • NEA- Alaska • Alaska State Employee Association • Alaska Public Employee Association • Teamsters 959 • NARF • and growing.....
What Can You Do • Register your support – fill out one of the sheets available here • Donate to Stop the Gag Law, 1231 W Northern Lights, Anchorage, AK 99503 • Spread the word to your friends, coworkers and neighbors