It’s that time of year again — the sun is shining, snow is melting, and the Legislature is scrambling to get through its tasks before the close of the session.
The 90-day legislative session is slated to end April 20, and lawmakers have expressed a goal of wrapping up their work by April 18 to make it home in time for Easter. That gives them three weeks to wrap up what has turned out to be an extremely busy session.
The Legislature already has sent a number of bills to the governor, but still have a full plate — including bills that deal with the budget and the proposed natural gas pipeline. Furthermore, lawmakers and the governor took on education this session, a huge and complex topic for any session, nevermind one as jam-packed as this.
We’re pleased to see lawmakers set ambitious goals for themselves — and put their noses to the grindstone to achieve them. Lawmakers jumped right into this year’s session, and it hasn’t been disrupted by things like the national energy conference, which in recent years has halted legislative proceedings in their tracks.
However, this is also the time in the session when things start to come fast and furious. Toward the end of the session, hearings and floor votes will take place on short notice, with the House and Senate and various committees convening at all hours. Things will be getting hectic, to say the least.
With that in mind, we urge our representatives to proceed with caution. While passing important legislation is part of the job we’ve elected them to do, so is looking out for the Kenai Peninsula’s best interests — which just as often means not passing legislation. It’s better to hold a bad bill and start fresh next year than to pass poorly crafted legislation.
Likewise, as the session heads for the home stretch, we’d remind lawmakers that now is the time to focus on the priorities, such as the state budget. At this point in the session, individual lawmakers’ pet issues will have to move to the back burner.
The last few weeks of the legislative session is always a flurry of activity. That there’s lots to do in a short period of time is no excuse not to make sure what’s done is done well.