Alaska lawmaker takes fight over conflicts to the voters

In this Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, people enter the Alaska state Capitol, in Juneau, Alaska, where lawmakers will meet for a special session on taxes and crime legislation. The special session begins Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Concerns about whether state lawmakers are serving the public’s interest or their own aren’t new in Alaska.

But one first-year representative says growing pessimism about the political process means it’s time to address the distrust head-on.

Rep. Jason Grenn of Anchorage is helping lead a bipartisan effort to put a proposal on the 2018 ballot. It would provide greater scrutiny and limits on lawmakers’ conflicts of interest, travel and pay.

An independent, Grenn says he is pursuing the ballot question because the Legislature has stumbled in past attempts to create tighter conflict-of-interest rules.

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