Senate Passes Resolution to Expand the Legislature
SJR 21 would ensure fair representation for rural Alaska in the political process
JUNEAU – With a reconsideration vote not taken up, the Alaska Senate today passed legislation sponsored by the Senate Community and Regional asking that a constitutional amendment be placed before voters this year to increase the size of the legislature. Senate Joint Resolution 21 would add 8 seats to the 40-member House of Representatives and 4 seats to the Alaska Senate.
Senator Donny Olson, D-Nome, Chair of the Senate community and Regional Affairs Committee said increasing legislative membership will help address a population growth that has disproportionately favored Alaska’s larger, urban areas.
“Alaska’s population has tripled since statehood, with growth coming especially on the road system and in urban areas of the state,” Senator Olson noted. “Urban Alaska’s population growth for rural Alaska, though, has meant geographically large Senate and House districts comprised of communities that often have little in common.”
Senator Olson said getting SJR 12 passed and the constitutional amendment before the voters in the 2010 general election is critical as election district boundaries will be redrawn in 2012 based on this year’s census.
SJR 21 goes next to the House of Representatives for consideration.