Chapter 18.07
INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM AND RECALL

Sections:

18.07.010    Reservation of powers.

18.07.015    Application for petition.

18.07.020    Contents of petition.

18.07.025    Signature requirements.

18.07.030    Sufficiency of petition.

18.07.035    Protest.

18.07.040    New petition.

18.07.045    Initiative election.

18.07.050    Referendum election.

18.07.055    Effect.

18.07.065    Recall.

18.07.010 Reservation of powers.

A. The powers of initiative and referendum are reserved to the qualified voters of the city as provided by state law and by the city of Palmer Charter. The voters of the city, by initiative, may propose and enact any ordinance which the city council has power to enact under the Charter except as otherwise provided in this section. The voters of the city, by referendum, may approve or reject any ordinance passed by the city council except as otherwise provided in this section.

B. Ordinances dedicating revenues; ordinances making, repealing, transferring, or otherwise changing appropriations; ordinances fixing mill levies; ordinances authorizing the issuance of bonds; and special ordinances shall not be subject to either initiative or referendum. Ordinances creating courts, defining jurisdiction of courts or prescribing their rules shall not be subject to initiative. Ordinances necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety (emergency ordinances) shall not be subject to referendum. (Ord. 620 § 4, 2004)

18.07.015 Application for petition.

A. An initiative or referendum is proposed by filing an application with the clerk containing the ordinance or resolution to be initiated or the ordinance or resolution to be referred and the name and address of a contact person and an alternate to whom all correspondence relating to the petitions may be sent. An application shall be signed by at least 10 voters who will sponsor the petition. An additional sponsor may be added at any time before the petition is filed by submitting the name of the sponsor to the clerk. Within 14 business days, the clerk shall certify the application if the clerk finds that it is in proper form and, for an initiative petition, that the matter:

1. Is not restricted by PMC 18.07.010(B);

2. Includes only a single subject;

3. Relates to a legislative rather than to an administrative matter; and

4. Would be enforceable as a matter of law.

B. A decision by the clerk on an application for petition is subject to judicial review. (Ord. 620 § 4, 2004)

18.07.020 Contents of petition.

A. Within 14 business days after certification of an application for an initiative or referendum petition, a petition shall be prepared by the clerk. Each copy of the petition shall contain:

1. A summary of the ordinance or resolution to be initiated or the ordinance or resolution to be referred;

2. The complete ordinance or resolution sought to be initiated or referred as submitted by the sponsors;

3. The date on which the petition is issued by the clerk;

4. Notice that signatures must be secured within 90 days after the date the petition is issued;

5. Spaces for each signature, the printed name of each signer, the date each signature is affixed, and the residence and mailing addresses of each signer;

6. A statement, with space for the sponsor’s sworn signature and date of signing, that the sponsor personally circulated the petition, that all signatures were affixed in the presence of the sponsor, and that the sponsor believes the signatures to be those of the persons whose names they purport to be; and

7. Space for indicating the total number of signatures on the petition.

B. If a petition consists of more than one page, each page shall contain the summary of the ordinance or resolution to be initiated or the ordinance or resolution to be referred.

C. The clerk shall notify the contact person in writing when the petition is available. The contact person is responsible for notifying sponsors. Copies of the petitions shall be provided by the clerk to each sponsor who appears in the clerk’s office and requests a petition, and the clerk shall mail the petition to each sponsor who requests that the petition be mailed. (Ord. 620 § 4, 2004)

18.07.025 Signature requirements.

A. The signatures on an initiative or referendum petition shall be secured within 90 days after the clerk issues the petition.

B. The statement provided under PMC 18.07.020(A)(6) shall be signed and dated by the sponsor.

C. All signatures shall be in ink.

D. The clerk shall determine the number of signatures required on a petition and inform the contact person in writing. Except as provided in subsection (H) of this section, a petition shall be signed by a number of voters equal to 25 percent of the number of votes cast at the last regular election held before the date written notice is given to the contact person that the petition is available.

E. Illegible signatures shall be rejected by the clerk unless accompanied by a legible printed name. Signatures not accompanied by a legible residence address shall be rejected.

F. The clerk shall reject the signature of any person whose name does not appear on the State of Alaska Division of Elections voter registration list and is not registered to vote in the city of Palmer on the day the clerk requests state verification of the person’s voter status.

G. A petition signer may withdraw the signer’s signature on written application to the clerk before certification of the petition.

H. If the ordinance or resolution that is the subject of an initiative or referendum petition affects only an area that is less than the entire area of a city, only voters residing in the affected area may sign the petition. The clerk shall determine the number of signatures required on the petition and inform the contact person in writing. The petition shall be signed by a number of voters equal to 25 percent of the number of votes cast in that area at the last regular election held before the date written notice is given to the contact person that the petition is available. (Ord. 16-006 § 3, 2016; Ord. 620 § 4, 2004)

18.07.030 Sufficiency of petition.

A. All copies of an initiative or referendum petition shall be assembled and filed as a single instrument. Within 10 business days after the date the petition is filed, the clerk shall:

1. Certify on the petition whether it is sufficient; and

2. If the petition is insufficient, identify the insufficiency and notify the contact person by certified mail.

B. A petition that is insufficient may be supplemented with additional signatures obtained and filed before the eleventh business day after the date on which the petition is rejected.

C. A petition that is insufficient shall be rejected and filed as a public record unless it is supplemented under subsection (B) of this section. Within 10 business days after supplementary filing, the clerk shall recertify the petition. If it is still insufficient, the petition shall be rejected and filed as a public record. (Ord. 620 § 4, 2004)

18.07.035 Protest.

If the clerk certifies an initiative or referendum petition is insufficient, a signer of the petition may file a protest with the city manager within seven business days after the certification. The city manager shall present the protest at the next regular meeting of the city council. The city council shall hear and decide the protest. (Ord. 620 § 4, 2004)

18.07.040 New petition.

Failure to secure sufficient signatures does not preclude the filing of a new initiative or referendum petition. However, a new petition on substantially the same matter may not be filed sooner than six months after a petition is rejected as insufficient. (Ord. 620 § 4, 2004)

18.07.045 Initiative election.

A. The clerk shall present a certified sufficient petition for initiative to the council at the first regular meeting after certification.

B. Unless the council enacts substantially the same measure, the clerk shall submit the matter to the voters at the next regular election occurring no sooner than 60 days after certification of the petition.

C. The ordinance or resolution initiated shall be published in full in the notice of the election but may be summarized on the ballot to indicate clearly the proposal submitted.

D. If a majority vote favors the ordinance or resolution, it shall become effective upon certification of the election unless a different effective date is provided in the ordinance or resolution.

E. The council may at any time not less than 20 days from the date of the election adopt an ordinance or resolution to implement the petition. In that event, a vote on the initiative shall not be held. (Ord. 620 § 4, 2004)

18.07.050 Referendum election.

A. Unless the ordinance or resolution is repealed by the council, when a petition seeks a referendum vote, the clerk shall submit the matter to the voters at the next regular election occurring no sooner than 60 days after certification of the petition. If no election occurs within 90 days of the certification of the petition, the council may hold a special election within 90 days, but not sooner than 45 days after the certification period.

B. If a petition is certified before the effective date of the matter referred, the ordinance or resolution against which the petition is filed shall be suspended pending the referendum vote. During the period of suspension, the council may not enact an ordinance or resolution substantially similar to the suspended measure.

C. If the council repeals the ordinance or resolution before the referendum election, the petition is void and the matter referred shall not be placed before the voters.

D. If a majority vote favors the repeal of the matter referred, it is repealed. Otherwise, the matter referred remains in effect or, if it has been suspended, becomes effective on certification of the election. (Ord. 620 § 4, 2004)

18.07.055 Effect.

A. The effect of an ordinance or resolution may not be modified or negated within two years after its effective date if adopted in an initiative election or if adopted after a petition that contains substantially the same measure has been filed.

B. If an ordinance or resolution is repealed in a referendum election or by the city council after a petition that contains substantially the same measure has been filed, substantially similar legislation may not be enacted by the council for a period of two years.

C. If an initiative or referendum measure fails to receive voter approval, a new petition application for substantially the same measure may not be filed sooner than six months after the election results are certified. (Ord. 620 § 4, 2004)

18.07.065 Recall.

An official who is elected or appointed to an elective city office may be recalled as provided by state law. (Ord. 620 § 4, 2004)