Enough petition signatures have been verified to place an initiative seeking to legalize marijuana on the ballot this summer in Alaska, election officials said Tuesday.

The petition has met all the thresholds necessary to appear on the Aug. 19 primary ballot, the Alaska Division of Elections said.

The lieutenant governor’s office said it had verified the signatures from registered voters as of Monday evening. The total of 31,500 was a thousand more than needed, with about 6,000 signatures remaining to be checked.

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Officials with Anchorage municipal unions say they have turned in more than enough signatures to place a measure before voters that would repeal a law restricting union powers.

Unions turned in 22,136 voter signatures, more than triple the required 7,124 to place the measure on the ballot, the Anchorage Daily News reported Tuesday.

The Anchorage Assembly voted 6-5 on March 26 to approve what Mayor Dan Sullivan calls The Responsible Labor Act. The law prohibits union members from going on strike and eliminates binding arbitration.

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Tomorrow is the deadline for a group trying to repeal a tax cut on oil companies.

Yes Repeal the Giveaway need* at least 30,000 verified signatures to get a referendum on the August primary ballot. So far, over 45,000 people have signed the petition booklets.

“It’s exceeded my expectations.”

Organizers of an effort to repeal a tax cut for oil companies expect to collect enough signatures before Saturday’s deadline to put a referendum before voters.

Pat Lavin, a leader of “Vote Yes - Repeal the Giveaway, estimates his group has collected 35,000 signatures and will get more before the deadline, the Anchorage Daily News reported ( ).

“We’re feeling very good about where we are, numbers-wise,” he said.

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Ballot propositions can be expensive fights, with hundreds of thousands ”” and even millions ”” of dollars spent. The Alaska Public Offices Commission, or APOC, is the group that tracks all that money. Yesterday, they ruled that groups can campaign for or against a pending referendum without declaring their expenditures, as long as they aren’t sponsoring it.

The differences between a referendum and an initiative are pretty technical. A referendum allows voters to strike down legislation, while an initiative allows them to draft their own policy. But in the end, they’re both items that appear on the ballot that allow citizens to shape the law themselves. And so, they were mostly treated the same under law.

City officials rejected a second petition by a group of labor unions that are looking to repeal a law that would cut union power.

Now labor union representatives say they are headed to court because of this second rejection.

In march the Anchorage Assembly passed a labor rewrite law also known as ordinance 37.

Union members say the ordinance took away many of their rights, for example collective bargaining and their right to strike.

City officials rejected the first referendum petition citing the ordinance is administrative in nature and a referendum would not legally change it.

The Municipality of Anchorage has again rejected a petition to place a referendum repealing Mayor Dan Sullivan’s controversial labor ordinance on the city ballot, naming some of the same causes from its first refusal two weeks ago.

In a Monday memo to acting Municipal Clerk Amanda Moser, City Attorney Dennis Wheeler says the revised version of the referendum, submitted by sponsor Andy Holleman and other backers, properly cites Assembly Ordinance 37 and omits inaccurate supporting statements — reasons also cited as a reason for refusal of the previous referendum.

Critics of Anchorage’s new municipal labor law are mounting another effort to repeal it.

The Anchorage Assembly last month eliminated the right to strike by eight city unions and took away performance bonuses and incentives in future city contracts. The measure also limits annual pay hikes and creates a system for outsourcing certain city work.

The city last week rejected a petition for a referendum by voters on repeal of the ordinance.

Read More: Here

In the great white north of Alaska, citizens of Anchorage are fighting back against the city’s recent labor overhaul law known as AO-37.  The law, passed by the Anchorage Assembly on March 26, changes the ways that unions negotiate with the city.

Many labor groups, including the Anchorage Education Association and the Anchorage Fire Fighters Union are spearheading a referendum petition to repeal AO-37. Once the petition is approved by the city clerk’s office, the petitioners would have 60 days from when the law was passed (May 25) to collect 7,100 signatures. After collecting the signatures, the city would have 75 days to organize a special election to have the law put to a vote.

The contentious AO-37, the labor law overhaul that passed the Anchorage Assembly on March 26, profoundly changed the rules for how the city negotiates with its unions. Now opponents are continuing the fight against it with a referendum petition that would suspend the ordinance and put AO-37 to the voters.

Andy Holleman is the president of the Anchorage Education Association. As the head of the city’s teacher unions, the city’s labor laws don’t affect his members; they contract with the school board, and not the city. But Holleman is spearheading the fight against AO-37.

Read more from KTVA Alaska

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In snowy and forbidding environments like Alaska, getting anything done takes a lot of hard work.  Likewise, petitioning for ballot measures takes a lot of hard work everywhere – and even more to brave the elements in The Last Frontier.

But Alaskan Dorene Lorenz, host of the local TV program “Alaska Political Insider,” seems to think that ballot measures are too easy, claiming supreme confidence that she can single-handedly collect the 30,000 signatures necessary to qualify a statutory initiative for the ballot. Not that she is going to actually do so, mind you.

Proponents of restarting a coastal management program for the state say their ballot initiative is on track to go before voters in the August primary, but that doesn’t mean the issue might not be resolved sooner.
The “Alaska Sea Party,” a group of coastal town legislators, and officials say the 26,000 signatures they got to put their initiative on the ballot is a good sign the people support their plan.

Read more at KTVA Alaska.

The citizen’s ballot initiative to restore Alaska’s coastal management program has launched a concerted effort to gather signatures in the Ketchikan-Saxman area.  Petition booklets will be available this Friday and Saturday, January 6 and 7, 2012 at the Plaza Mall in Ketchikan from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  

The initiative is sponsored by the Alaska Sea Party, a group of municipal officials, local leaders, and interested voters committed to Alaska involvement in coastal development decisions.  It is endorsed by the Alaska Federation of Natives, the Aleutian-Pribilof Islands Community Development Association, the Alaska Conference of Mayors, the North Slope Borough, United Fishermen of Alaska, the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, and many other individuals and organizations.

Alaska voters will be asked to sign petitions reinstating the state’s Coastal Management Program and once again giving the state and local communities an official say in what happens in federal offshore waters. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell Tuesday certified the petition, using the full 60 days in which he was given to review it.

Read the story from the Juneau Empire

With less than a month before voters decide the fate of a ballot proposition that introduces penalties for heavy air polluters and bans certain devices, two groups are gearing up on opposite sides of the issue.

Healthy Air Now helped craft and introduce Proposition 2. It and Interior Alaskans Opposed to Prop 2 are busy forming campaigns, refining stances and raising money for a heated debate.