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Senator Dunleavy Introduces Constitutional Amendment

JUNEAU-Senator Mike Dunleavy, R-Mat-Su Valley, this week introduced legislation that would let Alaskans vote on whether to amend the state’s constitution to allow the use of public money for the benefit of all Alaskans seeking educational/training aid, regardless of whether individuals enroll in public or private institutions.  

Senate Joint Resolution 9, if passed by both bodies of the legislature, places a constitutional amendment before the voters in the general election in the fall of 2014. This ballot proposal provides voters a chance to amend the Alaska Constitution.

“Passage of SJR 9 clarifies the question on the constitutionality of current educational practices.  More than that, the ballot question allows the voters to decide whether restrictions on the use of public dollars for the education of children are to be maintained or abolished,” said Senator Dunleavy.  “SJR 9 gives the voters the power to decide what is right for them, their families and the State of Alaska.”

Currently the Alaska Constitution prohibits the use of public funds for the direct benefit of any private educational institution.  The courts have determined that this ban extends to state funds being allotted to individual Alaskans who choose to attend a private school.  Meanwhile an increasing number of Alaskans are questioning the constitutionality of the long-standing practice of giving educational scholarships/grants to adults for educational and training purposes while denying children the same funding opportunities. 

 “It is important to note that even with the adoption of this constitutional amendment by a majority of voters, the Legislature still needs to have a robust discussion on how to go forward,” said Senator Dunleavy.  “These deliberations will occur before any Alaskan child receives state funds in order to attend private educational institutions. The passage of SJR 9 allows these discussions to begin.”

Senate Joint Resolution 9 has been sent to the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees for further consideration

For more information, please call Bethany Marcum in Senator Dunleavy’s office at 907-465-6600.

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