Frequently Asked Questions
Are our legislators influenced by special interests? How does the average person have a voice?
Most Alaskans cannot affordably access their legislators.
While many communities have an office that allows people to call into legislative meetings or hearings, legislators are often seen texting, passing notes, laughing, playing games on their phones, or even taking naps while taking testimonies over the phone. It’s much harder to ignore an Alaskan’s input when they’re sitting in front of you face-to-face.
Lobbyists who are paid by special interests often crowd the hallways and schedules of legislators because they’re the only ones who can afford to fly into Juneau, stay in a hotel, and rent a car. It costs the average Alaskan more than $650 for a two-day visit to Juneau during legislative session. This automatically disqualifies low-income Alaskans and many seniors who are on a fixed income from participating in the process.
Instead, corporations, lobbyists, and special interests travel to Juneau to speak on your behalf - whether you like it or not.
How many Alaskans currently have access to their government?
Unfortunately, Accessing Government is too expensive for the average alaskan.
We have found that the Capital has almost never been more inaccessible or cost-prohibitive to the average Alaskan than it is today (unless you have a special interest group or lobbyist paying for your trip). Since 1994, the City of Juneau has spent millions of dollars to make you more comfortable with its efforts to protect the exclusive access to the government that it enjoys — and to block yours.
On top of that, the City of Juneau has purchased several buildings and claims to have gifted them to the Legislature without strings attached — other than the continued commitment that the legislature stay in Juneau and away from the rest of the state.
Why are you trying to move the Capital?
Won’t Juneau’s economy suffer if the Legislature moves?
Hasn’t this been tried before and failed?
What do legislators want?
We Are not moving the Capital! Juneau will always be Alaska’s capital city.
This initiative applies ONLY to moving the legislature; all remaining government agencies and departments will remain in Juneau.
When it comes to the important work of the legislature, meetings should take place where the majority of Alaskans can afford to participate. This year’s House Majority Coalition (which includes State Representatives from both major political parties, and legislators from Juneau) spent thousands dollars to take their budget proposals to community meetings on the road system. They told reporters that they felt it was important to get public input “face-to-face,” where the majority of Alaskans could participate. And they were right! Hundreds of Alaskans showed up to provide input on the budget.
Even Juneau’s legislative delegation understands that excluding 9 out of 10 Alaskans from conversations surrounding the most important issues facing our state is unfair!
The City of Juneau has done a great job diversifying its economy.
The City of Juneau has done amazing work promoting their tourism industry and expects more than 1.3 million tourists to visit the city via cruise ship in 2019. Aside from the head tax paid by each cruise ship passenger ($8 per person to the City), the local economy benefits from the fact that each tourist spends an average of $168 in-port. Between revenues from goods and services and revenues from the head tax, Juneau’s economy is projected to generate more than $228.8 million in 2019 — and that’s just through tourism.
Despite previous studies that have been funded by the City of Juneau declaring that moving the legislature would create economic catastrophe, common sense would lead almost anyone to understand that moving just a few hundred legislative employees out of the city for four months out of the year will have almost no impact on the local economy.
The short answer is no.
Previous initiatives have sought to remove the entire capital and all government from Juneau. This is the first initiative that seeks only to have the legislature meet in a location that the population centers of our state can reach affordably.
Juneau keeps almost $25 million in a bank account waiting to fight off anybody who tries to ruin the city’s exclusive access to the legislature. And they’ll use that money this time, too. While the people of Alaska have successfully voted several different times to move various facets of the government where the majority of Alaskans can reach it, the City of Juneau has spent vast sums of money to tie up those efforts up in court.
We can’t speak for you, but we aren’t comfortable with millions of dollars being spent to keep the opinions of Alaskans from reaching the ears of their elected officials.
Certainly, there are many legislators who would love for you to have more access to them.
There are also a number of legislators who will actively fight this initiative because they do NOT want to have to communicate face-to-face with more of their constituents and would rather protect the exclusive access and influence that special interests, lobbyists, and millionaire corporations have bought.
Your legislature is comprised of YOUR representatives, and they should meet where YOU decide and remain accountable to YOU.