Anti-Alaskan-Jobs Initiative Gets Slapped with Lawsuit

Anti-Alaskan-Jobs Initiative Gets Slapped with Lawsuit

April 15, 2020

Late last week, a number of pro-business organizations filed suit to demand answers on how legal the “Alaska’s Fair Share” initiative’s signature-gathering tactics were. 

The initiative – a jobs-killing measure that would ultimately decrease investment in Alaska’s oil and gas sector – turned in nearly 40,000 verified signatures from across the state, surpassing the 28,501 that was required.

The groups filing suit – including the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, Resource Development Council for Alaska, Alaska Trucking Association, Alaska Miners Association, Associated General Contractors of Alaska and the Alaska Support Industry Alliance – take exception not to the number of signers, but the way paid signature-gatherers were compensated.

Alaska’s laws on signature-gathering are clear:  No more than $1 per name can be paid.  Ads from the company hired to gather touted salaries and bonuses that would have exceeded that amount.  Seems like an open-and-shut case, right?  Not so fast, says the sponsor, Robin Brena, who stated in a recent article:

“There’s no violation of the law. They don’t understand the law. They’re misquoting it,” Brena said. “They have their facts wrong.”  Brena said the company did not pay signature gatherers on a per-name basis.

What?  That’s their legal argument?  Whether paid on an individual basis or in aggregate, exceeding $1 per name is against state law.

Power The Future will stay abreast of this suit and the ongoing fight to protect Alaska’s energy workers from overzealous anti-development groups, individuals and even public policy.  After all, don’t the thousands of Alaskan families benefitting from working at the North Slope fields the initiative is targeting deserve it?