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Alaskans approve a panel for rethinking statehood

Alaska's voters narrowly approved a precedent-setting commission to reexamine their 21-year-old statehood pact with the United States, election officials announced Thursday.

Creation of an Alaska Statehood Commission, the first such panel in any state , carries with it the veiled threat of an Alaska secession movement. The measure provides for an 11-member commission to review implementation of the Alaska Statehood Act of 1959, problems of other Western states, and alternative federal-state relationships. Six members of the commission will be picked by the state Legislature and five by Gov. Jay Hammond.

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