FAIRBANKS – On Friday, July 21, House Bill 8 “an act relating to electric-assisted bicycles; and providing for an effective date” sponsored by Representative Ashley Carrick (D-West Fairbanks) was vetoed by Governor Mike Dunleavy. In his veto message, the Governor’s reason for vetoing this bill is that it “creates unnecessary bureaucracy by regulating a recreational activity.” HB 8 passed the legislature back in May on a strong bipartisan basis, passing the House 39-1 and the Senate 18-1. Rep. Carrick issued the following statement about the veto:
“House Bill 8 passed the legislature nearly unanimously and was strongly supported by user groups and individual Alaskans. Passage of the bill in both bodies was the culmination of five sessions of work started by my predecessor Representative Adam Wool. During the consideration of this bill, we received no opposition from the administration and would have preferred that a dialogue had taken place prior to taking this action. The Governor’s reasoning for vetoing is also inconsistent with what the bill actually does. By defining e-bikes in statute using the industry standard definition already adopted in 39 states, this bill moves forward with current technology and clears up a current legal gray area around what electric bicycles are. This bill also provides regulatory authority to local governments and state agencies to limit or expand current e-bike usage where they see fit on certain paths and trails, allowing for a maximum amount of local control by providing a minimum definition that can be utilized uniformly across the state.”
The legislature may override the Governor’s veto of HB 8 in joint session within the first five days of the next regular session with a vote of 2/3rds of the entire membership of the legislature. The second session of the 33rd Alaska State Legislature begins on January 16, 2024.