The battle is over in the Alaska legislature regarding an amendment to the cruise ship tax initiative that the state's citizens passed into law last summer.

The Alaska Senate passed a bill that will modify the component of the law that requires the cruise lines to disclose the commission or mark-up on operators' shore excursions.

The amended bill gives the cruise lines the choice to either disclose mark-ups on shore excursions or disclose, "that the tours featured onboard a cruise ship pay for that advertisement."

It also obliges the lines to post a statement "reminding passengers that they are free to book alternative tours on their own," with information to help them do so, the bill says.

The authors of the law, which passed as a citizen initiative last summer, were pleased with the results.

The modified disclosure requirement "remains true to the intent of the initiative," said Gershon Cohen, co-author of the ballot and member of a group that sponsored it, Campaign to Safeguard America's Waters.

"It requires the cruise lines to admit to the passengers that they take a large commission from the tour operators," said Cohen.  "And it has strengthened requirements for a similar disclosure with the gift stores."

To contact reporter Johanna Jainchill, send e-mail to [email protected].


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