Alaska’s constitution was adopted in 1956 and became effective when Alaska entered the Union in 1959. The constitution provides for the initiative, referendum, and recall. State constitutional amendments may be proposed by the legislature or by a constitutional convention. In order to become effective they must be approved by voters in a general election. The state’s constitution requires voters to decide every ten years whether to call a constitutional convention.
The governor and the lieutenant governor are the only elective executive officials. Both serve four-year terms. Heads of executive departments are appointed by the governor but must be confirmed by a majority vote in a joint session of the legislature. The governor has the power to veto legislation and to veto or reduce items in appropriations bills.
The state legislature consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The legislature meets in Juneau each January. Legislative sessions last for 120 days, although the governor may call a special session to consider specific items. Members of the senate serve for four years, and members of the house serve for two years. The state is divided into election districts, based on the distribution of population.
The state judicial system consists of a supreme court, a court of appeals, superior courts, and district magistrate courts. The chief justice of the supreme court has responsibility for the administration of all courts. The governor appoints each justice, who must be confirmed in office by voters in the first general election held after the justice has served for three years on the court. Thereafter, the justice must be reconfirmed by voters every ten years.
Alaska is not divided into counties; the chief units of local government are boroughs and cities. In the 2000s there were 16 organized boroughs and 1 unorganized borough that encompassed more than half of Alaska’s land area. Nearly 90 percent of the state’s people live in organized boroughs. Alaska had 145 cities (communities with more than 400 full-time residents) in 2000. Most of the boroughs and cities had elected mayors and councils. Alaska is represented in the Congress of the United States by two senators and one representative. The state casts three electoral votes in presidential elections. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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