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New Law Protects Alaskan Businesses & State Land Lease Holders

Sen. Meyer’s bill ensures Alaskans and their business investments are safe from land grabs

ANCHORAGE-Today, Governor Sean Parnell signed Senate Bill 106 into law. SB106, sponsored by Senator Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), protects state land lease holders who built their business on the state land and who depend on those investments for their livelihood.

“This issue was brought to me by a constituent nearly 10 years ago. We have been an advocate for our constituent in attempting to work with the State and a Borough. It was frustrating. It was costly. We finally came to the conclusion that it was necessary to change state law in order to protect state land lease holders. Our current laws do not provide a way for these lease holders to purchase the property they have invested in – in many cases, millions of dollars – before the land is conveyed to a local governing entity in an entitlement land selection,” said Senator Meyer. 

When municipalities or boroughs are formed in Alaska, they are allowed to choose particular parcels of land. Occasionally, lands which an individual has a state lease for, and in which they have personally invested, are chosen as part of that municipal entitlement, leaving the lease holder with no recourse or mechanism by which to recoup their investment or to purchase the land from the state.

“It is not uncommon for folks to build hunting and fishing lodges on remote pieces of property for a guiding business,” said Senator Meyer. “By the very nature of the business, these spots are often in desirable locations and when a new municipality or borough forms, sometimes they choose these lands and under the old system, the business owners would lose their investments without any recourse. This law corrects that problem and protects Alaskan’s investments.”

SB106 allows individuals to receive a no-bid, first right of refusal preference if they have built a building on the land, used the land for a business-related purpose for the past ten years, and have been relying on that business for 25-percent or more of their total income for those ten years.

“These are Alaskans who deserve protection from a municipality stripping their business investment out from underneath them,” said Senator Meyer. “I’ve been working on this bill for around 10 years and I would like to thank my colleagues in the Legislature and Governor Parnell for helping this ‘Pro-Alaskan, Pro-Business’ legislation to become law.”

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