Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

Photo courtesy of the ACLU of Alaska

The ACLU of Alaska is following through with its threat to sue the Kenai Peninsula Borough over its invocation policy.

In the lawsuit filed on Dec. 14 in Anchorage Superior Court, the ACLU alleges the policy currently in place violates constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection under the law.


Latest Effort To Revise Invocation Policy Stalls

Nov 23, 2016
Image courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

For the past four months, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has debated whether it should restrict who is allowed to give the invocation, or prayer, that begins each meeting.

The controversy began in early August, when a member of the Satanic Temple gave the invocation. In response, the Borough Assembly instituted a new policy in which only people or associations on a pre-approved list may give the invocation.

Critics say this restrictive policy may put the Borough at risk of a lawsuit, but efforts to amend it have stalled.


Borough Assembly May Appropriate Funds to Defend Invocation Policy in Court

Nov 14, 2016
Image courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story was updated to reflect the ACLU of Alaska's stance on a resolution proposed to fix the invocation policy.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre has proposed an ordinance that would pay for legal costs related to the Borough Assembly’s new invocation policy.

According to a memorandum from the Mayor’s office released Nov. 9, the Assembly has "received numerous comments challenging the legality" of the invocation policy.

The proposed ordinance would appropriate $75,000 to cover legal costs if the invocation policy is challenged in court. The ACLU of Alaska has already stated that, as the invocations policy stands, it is unconstitutional and they plan to challenge it in court.

Image courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has voted to override Mayor Mike Navarre's veto of the Assembly's new invocation policy resolution.

Joshua Decker is the Executive Director of The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska.

Decker says he is disappointed in the Assembly’s action.

Borough Mayor Promotes Propositions in Homer

Sep 14, 2016
Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre attended the Homer City Council meeting on Monday, where he talked with council members and Homer's Mayor about two propositions that will appear on the Oct. 4 municipal ballot.

Both propositions address Borough tax code. Mayor Navarre said the proposed tax increases are needed.

Photo by Daysha Eaton/KBBI

Invocations, or prayers, will continue to be said at the beginning of Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meetings, despite recent debate about whether they are appropriate. 

The Assembly voted at their regular meeting on Tuesday not to introduce an ordinance that would have eliminated the invocation and another that would have changed the invocation to a moment of silence.

But that was only after impassioned testimony from deeply divided residents.


Photo by Daysha Eaton/KBBI

Tonight, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Vice President Brent Johnson plans to introduce an ordinance that would replace the invocation, or prayer said at the beginning of meetings, with a moment of silence. Earlier this month, an invocation by a member of the Satanic Temple was offered before the assembly. The prayer sparked a protest, and a counterprotest.


Assembly Hears Invocation from Satanic Temple

Aug 15, 2016
Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly thought it put controversy about invocations to rest. But there seems to be no end in sight to debate about starting meetings with a prayer.


Voters Won't Get Say in Hospital Boundary

Aug 9, 2016
Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

The boundary between South and Central Peninsula hospitals will stay the same.

Clam Gulch and Ninilchik residents have voiced complaints about paying mill rate taxes to support the South Peninsula Hospital Service Area, when they live much closer to Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna.

Senior Tax Exemption Will Go To Voters

Jul 28, 2016
Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

Kenai Peninsula Borough voters will have their say on whether the borough’s optional senior property tax exemption will be phased out.


Hospital Boundary Will Stay The Same

Jul 27, 2016
Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

The boundary between the south and central peninsula hospital service areas will stay where it is, near the tower in Clam Gulch, about 14.5 miles north of the midpoint between the Homer and central peninsula hospitals.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has been discussing moving the boundary south, so that residents of Clam Gulch and Ninilchik won’t have to pay taxes to support the Homer Hospital’s service area when most use medical services in Soldotna. 

Borough Assembly to Keep Prayer in Meetings

Jun 30, 2016
Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

An ordinance that would have removed the invocation, or prayer, from the start of Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meetings proved to be such a hot topic that it was dropped before even being officially taken up.

Assembly President Blaine Gilman said he proposed the ordinance in response to recent complaints from members of the public that prayer as part of a public meeting was inappropriate. And also that the invocation, as practiced, seemed exclusionary to non-Judeo-Christian faiths, since that’s all that is represented.

Gilman, who represents Kenai, said his answer was to open the invocation up to anyone interested.

“I think the direction to go is to be broad-based, respectful of all faiths, and it’s first come, first served. And if there’s Muslims in this community who want to give an invocation, if there are people who are from Frontier Freethinkers, if there’s a Hindu person who wants to give an invocation, we should be open to that,” Gilman said.

Borough Considers Lowering Senior Tax Exemption

Jun 29, 2016
Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

As the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly works its way through proposed changes to the tax codes, the idea to phase out the senior property tax exemption has garnered the most public comment.

Borough OKs Marijuana Licenses

Jun 24, 2016
Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Prospective Kenai Peninsula commercial marijuana business cleared another hurdle Tuesday, as the borough assembly supported the issuance of licenses from the state Alcohol Marijuana Control Board.

Indoor Athletics Field Coming to Homer

Jun 24, 2016
Image courtesy of the Soccer Association of Homer

Soccer, baseball and other typically spring- and summertime sports are usually put away during long Alaska winters. But come this fall, people in the Homer area will have a new place to play.

The Soccer Association of Homer is realizing its dream to build an indoor athletic field. The goal of the South Peninsula Athletic and Recreation Center, or SPARC, is providing healthy activity for the community, year-round.

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