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What others say: 90-day session isn't good for Alaska

Posted: April 29, 2014 - 3:39pm

Still not convinced that the 90-day legislative session is a bad idea?

House Speaker Mike Chenault, a supporter of the shorter session, offered a revealing observation in a story in Sunday’s Daily News-Miner. And it undermines his own view.

“The public process is what gets shorted by the shorter session,” the speaker said.

That should be enough to warrant a return to the 120-day session.

Don’t want to take the word of the speaker?

Then how about listening to what a lobbyist-turned-legislator had to say about the 90-day session.

Democratic Rep. Sam Kito III of Juneau was a lobbyist before being appointed to the Legislature to fill a vacancy earlier this year.

“When we’re at 90 days, we’re empowering the special interests who have people who have a lot of influence and a lot of knowledge. They can come in here and communicate very quickly to people who don’t have the time,” he said in Sunday’s story.

What more is there to say? The public doesn’t have as much time to participate in the legislative process. They lose out to the ever-present lobbyists. Bills don’t always get the thorough vetting they deserve.

When will legislative leaders have the courage to return to the 120-day session allowed under the Alaska Constitution.

— Fairbanks Daily News-Miner,

April 28

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