This is the third post in a series about the lieutenant governor of Alaska. In my two previous posts about this particular office, I have covered the various sections in the Constitution of Alaska that refer to the state’s second-in-command. This post, which will discuss Article III, Sections 13 and 14 of the Alaska Constitution will finish this portion of my review of constitutional sections related to the office. As a note, in my previous post, I indicated that Article III, sections 12-14 would be discussed here. That is incorrect. Because Article III, Sections 12 does not directly refer to the lieutenant governor, it will not be discussed here. And, I owe a continuing debt of gratitude to the author of Alaska’s Constitution: A Citizen’s Guide for their comprehensive work on the document.
Article III, Section 13 refers to “further succession” in the lieutenant governor’s office. Specifically, the passage indicates that “Provision shall be made by law for succession to the office of governor and for an acting governor in the event that the lieutenant governor is unable to succeed in the office or act as governor. No election of a lieutenant governor shall be held except at the time of electing a governor.”
Indeed, a provision has been made in the Alaska Statutes for the designation by the Governor of a successor to the lieutenant governor’s post (44.19.040) in the event that the incumbent lieutenant governor vacated the post; this particular statute caused some difficulty in 2009, and could potentially be in conflict with another statute regarding a designated successor to the post. This dilemma will be explored in the next post about the office.
Article III, Section 14 is dedicated to the title and authority of the lieutenant governor, should they permanently become governor. Specifically, “when the lieutenant governor succeeds to the office of governor, he shall have the title, powers, duties and emoluments of the office.” In other words, the framers of this document wanted permanent succession to mean exactly that.
The next post in this series will discuss the dilemma that occurred in 2009 regarding a designated successor to the lieutenant governor in Alaska.