Juneau, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Senate has passed legislation to formally recognize tribes in Alaska.
Supporters of the bill say it is an overdue step that would create opportunities for the state and tribes to work together.
The measure passed 15-0 and will return to the House, which passed a similar version last year.
If the House agrees to the Senate version, the bill will go to the governor.
If the bill is enacted, its passage would likely bump from this year’s ballot a similar tribal recognition initiative.
Initiatives that qualify for the ballot can be bumped if the Legislature passes substantially similar legislation first.