Copies of the Alaska State Constitution were available outside the Lt. Governor’s office on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Copies of the Alaska State Constitution were available outside the Lt. Governor’s office on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Opinion: A constitutional convention is fraught with danger for Juneau, Southeast and Alaska as a whole

Please follow the constitutional convention issue as it works its way through the political process.

  • By Bill Corbus
  • Monday, December 20, 2021 2:14pm
  • Opinion

By Bill Corbus

Alaskans will decide in the November 2022 General Election if a constitutional convention will be held. This question is asked of voters every 10 years as required by the Constitution. Over recent decades, there has been little interest in holding one as Alaskans have consistently voted down the measure.

Now, some say circumstances are different. Today, as we gauge public sentiment there is reason to think the voters may vote for a constitutional convention. Many believe our state is heading in the wrong direction — falling employment and loss of high-paying jobs, dwindling state government revenues, inadequate funding for education, rising crime rates, crumbling infrastructure, etc. In short, folks are frustrated.

Keep in mind that a constitutional convention is not limited to one subject. Any subject or issue can be addressed. Some suggest am Alaska Constitutional Convention would provide the platform to right our ship; i.e., make changes that some believe will move Alaska forward. Here are just a few:

Education System – move the financial responsibility from the State to the local government and provide equal government financial support for private schools

Modifying our judicial system to change how State judges are selected and an elected Attorney General

Voter approval of any changes in State taxes

Tinkering with hunting and fishing rights

Right-to-work changes thereby weakening the collective bargaining process

Modifying the Permanent Fund provisions to increase the payout to an unsustainable level to the detriment of future generations and devoting too large a portion of the payout for the dividend

Eliminate the Alaska Public Offices Commission

Right- to-life issues

Imposing gun control measures

Addressing gay marriage issues

And on and on. Finally, let us not forget that a constitutional convention could move the capital.

In my mind, the list of issues which may be considered and acted upon are unpredictable. Changes to the state constitution may not produce the expected results and unintended consequences maybe ultimately prevail.

Outside interests with their inexhaustible dark money purses may play a role. They may have interests contrary to those of most Alaskans. With recent rulings on political campaign contributions, dark money could influence the election of convention delegates and with a well-funded lobbying effort could effect changes to the Constitution.

Our Alaska Constitution, when compared to most other states, is held in high esteem. In the 1955 background research leading to development of our constitution much thought was given to the short comings of the other 48 state constitutions. It is considered a model and the looked up to by other states. Some say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

So, please follow the constitutional convention issue as it works its way through the political process leading to the November 2022 election. A constitutional convention is fraught with danger for Juneau, Southeast and Alaska as a whole.

• Bill Corbus, a Juneau resident, is a Co-Chair of Defend our Constitution and a former commissioner of revenue.

More in Opinion

Web
Have something to say?

Here’s how to add your voice to the conversation.

t
Opinion: Let’s keep the mandatory real property disclosure ordinance

It will better ensure fair, accurate and efficient property tax assessments and collections.

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Opinion: Playing the old-timer card

Is the Empire really only interested in the problems faced by small communities?

Heavy metals run out of the Tulsequah Chief mine opening and down to holding ponds next to the Tulsequah River Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file)
Opinion: Officials must keep up pressure to clean up BC mine

In March 2017 I had a Commentary published Pacific Fishing Magazine imploring… Continue reading

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Why I’m voting for Walker

Walker is the only candidate with the potential to govern effectively for all Alaskans.

t
Opinion: The time has come to end Big Tech’s rule

The internet has opened doors and pathways to more than we could… Continue reading

Nick Begich III campaign materials sit on tables ahead of a May 16 GOP debate held in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Nick Begich is who Alaska and America need now

It is in Alaska’s best interest to elect a member of the Republican party.

teaser
Opinion: If you see something, say something

Together we can fight to preserve this pristine place we live.

This photo shows the University of Alaska Southeast campus in Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’m a longtime educator, and I’m supporting Walker/Drygas

The issues our state faces are significant with regard to education.

t
Opinion: Congress could keep health insurance costs from rising, but it has to act fast

Some argue that the federal government paid out far too much money… Continue reading

signs
Opinion: A conversation about mental health

All in all, we want you to know that you are not alone.

Anselm Staack (Courtesy Photo)
Opinion: Controlling women’s bodies — the coming tsunami

The Thomas Court wants to return us to the days before the 1960s, preferably to 1776.