Alaska Constitutional Conventions
See The Alaska State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse for information on Alaska’s November 8, 2022 and earlier referendums on whether to call a constitutional convention. The information below was a placeholder until that website was created.
Constitutional Amendment Section
of Alaska’s Constitution
Color Code: Highlights in red; Majority requirements in bold.
AMENDMENT AND REVISION
Section 13.1 – Amendments.
Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature. The lieutenant governor shall prepare a ballot title and proposition summarizing each proposed amendment, and shall place them on the ballot for the next general election. If a majority of the votes cast on the proposition favor the amendment, it shall be adopted. Unless otherwise provided in the amendment, it becomes effective thirty days after the certification of the election returns by the lieutenant governor.
Section 13.2 – Convention.
The legislature may call constitutional conventions at any time.
Section 13.3 – Call by Referendum.
If during any ten-year period a constitutional convention has not been held, the lieutenant governor shall place on the ballot for the next general election the question: “Shall there be a Constitutional Convention?” If a majority of the votes cast on the question are in the negative, the question need not be placed on the ballot until the end of the next ten-year period. If a majority of the votes cast on the question are in the affirmative, delegates to the convention shall be chosen at the next regular statewide election, unless the legislature provides for the election of the delegates at a special election. The lieutenant governor shall issue the call for the convention. Unless other provisions have been made by law, the call shall conform as nearly as possible to the act calling the Alaska Constitutional Convention of 1955, including, but not limited to, number of members, districts, election and certification of delegates, and submission and ratification of revisions and ordinances. The appropriation provisions of the call shall be self-executing and shall constitute a first claim on the state treasury.
Section 13.4 – Powers.
Constitutional conventions shall have plenary power to amend or revise the constitution, subject only to ratification by the people. No call for a constitutional convention shall limit these powers of the convention.
INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, AND RECALL
[Alaska has the statutory but not constitutional initiative]
Section 11.1 – Initiative and Referendum.
The people may propose and enact laws by the initiative, and approve or reject acts of the legislature by the referendum.
Section 11.2 – Application.
An initiative or referendum is proposed by an application containing the bill to be initiated or the act to be referred. The application shall be signed by not less than one hundred qualified voters as sponsors, and shall be filed with the lieutenant governor. If he finds it in proper form he shall so certify. Denial of certification shall be subject to judicial review.
Section 11.3 – Petition.
After certification of the application, a petition containing a summary of the subject matter shall be prepared by the lieutenant governor for circulation by the sponsors. If signed by qualified voters who are equal in number to at least ten percent of those who voted in the preceding general election, who are resident in at least three-fourths of the house districts of the State, and who, in each of those house districts, are equal in number to at least seven percent of those who voted in the preceding general election in the house district, it may be filed with the lieutenant governor.
Section 11.4 – Initiative Election.
<subs>An initiative petition may be filed at any time. The lieutenant governor shall prepare a ballot title and proposition summarizing the proposed law, and shall place them on the ballot for the first statewide election held more than one hundred twenty days after adjournment of the legislative session following the filing. If, before the election, substantially the same measure has been enacted, the petition is void.
Section 11.5 – Referendum Election.
<subs>A referendum petition may be filed only within ninety days after adjournment of the legislative session at which the act was passed. The lieutenant governor shall prepare a ballot title and proposition summarizing the act and shall place them on the ballot for the first statewide election held more than one hundred eighty days after adjournment of that session.
Section 11.6 – Enactment.
<subs>If a majority of the votes cast on the proposition favor its adoption, the initiated measure is enacted. If a majority of the votes cast on the proposition favor the rejection of an act referred, it is rejected. The lieutenant governor shall certify the election returns. An initiated law becomes effective ninety days after certification, is not subject to veto, and may not be repealed by the legislature within two years of its effective date. It may be amended at any time. An act rejected by referendum is void thirty days after certification. Additional procedures for the initiative and referendum may be prescribed by law.
Section 11.7 – Restrictions.
<subs>The initiative shall not be used to dedicate revenues, make or repeal appropriations, create courts, define the jurisdiction of courts or prescribe their rules, or enact local or special legislation. The referendum shall not be applied to dedications of revenue, to appropriations, to local or special legislation, or to laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety.
Section 11.8 – Recall.
<subs>All elected public officials in the State, except judicial officers, are subject to recall by the voters of the State or political subdivision from which elected. Procedures and grounds for recall shall be prescribed by the legislature.
Source: Alaska Constitution
Alaska Constitutional Research Resources: Materials Prepared Before the Constitutional Convention for Use by the Delegates, Alaska State Court Law Library, Revised November 2011.
Alaska Constitutional Convention of 1955-6, University of Alaska
Constitutional Convention Minutes 1955-6, State of Alaska Department of Law
The Movement towards Alaska’s Statehood: A Guide to Primary Resources in the Alaska & Polar Regions Collections, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 50th anniversary of Alaska’s admission into the Union, 2008, 16 pages.
60 Years Later: The Alaska Constitution, History in Context, 2018 Symposium, Alaska Law Review. Lunch interview with Vic Fischer.
Vic Fischer was a delegate to Alaska’s statehood constitutional convention and is the author of Alaska’s Constitutional Convention (1975) and other works related to that conventions. More information on Vic Fischer is cited below:
Fields, Zack, Warrior, oracle: Constitutional framer Fischer in his 9th decade of political combat, Anchorage Press, Dec 28, 2016.
Kitchenman, Andrew, Constitutional delegate Vic Fischer opposes Dunleavy’s amendment proposals, Alaska Public Media & KTOO, May 8, 2019.
Guide to the Victor Fischer papers 1950-2009, University of Alaska Archives.
Vic Fischer presents To Russia with Love, an Alaskan Journey, iTunes.
Opeds in Anchorage Daily News. From 2009.
Biographical Profile, prepared by University of Alaska.