In response to Mr. Pyle’s letter to the editor about the risks of passing the Charter amendment: (1) According to the Haines Borough attorney, the measure would not be unconstitutional. The amendment says we believe constitutional rights should not exist for artificial persons. It is not unconstitutional to express a belief. (2) The amendment would not remove any tax benefits currently enjoyed by any Native or non-Native corporation, church or nonprofit. (3) The amendment poses no legal risk to Haines. Haines would need to pass and implement specific ordinances in the future to create an issue someone might wish to legally challenge. (4) The Alaska Legislature is not addressing the issue. The Alaska Senate approved a resolution asking Congress to limit campaign contributions in 2012 but it died without a vote in the House. It was reintroduced last year and never made it through one Senate committee.
This is the question that will be on the ballot: Should the Haines Borough Charter Preamble and Bill of Rights be amended by the addition of the following: “We, the people of the Haines Borough, believe the rights set out in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alaska, like those in this Charter, are guaranteed only to individual human beings and do not apply to artificial entities.”
It is a simple statement of belief that only human beings should have constitutional rights.
We the People, Haines