By Al Ortiz
On January 20, 2012, Rep. Kyle Johansen requested that organizers of the petition effort, The Alaska Sea Party, release their contribution list earlier than what the state mandates. According to Johansen, the group was indeed following the law, but also claimed the importance of state legislators knowing who is funding the initiative effort. Johansen is sponsoring a bill in 2012 state legislative session that would change disclosure laws in the state.
On January 17, 2012, the day of the deadline, supporters turned in 33,500 signatures to the Alaska Division of Elections office. The signatures are under verification. According to reports, the Division of Elections has 60 days to verify signatures before sending it legislature.
The measure would establish a new coastal management program in the state. It was submitted to the Lieutenant Governor’s office during the week of October 5, 2011 by Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho and other supporters of the initiative. Specifically, the management program that would be established would be formally called the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program.
Alaska is the only coastal state in the country without a federal coastal management plan, according to reports. Coastal programs are established to guarantee state and local participation in federal decisions on coastal issues that could potentially surface.