Delaying special session right thing to do, as is passing anti-pollution bill

Posted: Friday, May 18, 2001

Gov. Tony Knowles did the right thing by delaying the start of a special legislative session to accommodate a Senate committee chair.

The special session is now set for June 7.

Knowles had originally called for the session to consider House Bill 260 to begin next week when Senate Transpor-tation Committee Chair John Cowdery planned to be with his wife, who is scheduled to undergo heart surgery.

Cowdery had held the bill, which gives the state power to set and enforce standards for cruise ship discharges and independently monitor them, in his committee during the regular session. Knowles had told legislators he considered the bill "must-have" legislation and would call a special session if the bill was not acted on.

For most Alaskans, it doesn't really matter if Knowles and Cowdery were both acting on principles and within their rights. Outside the halls of the Capitol, the little drama about the cruise-ship legislation has seemed like little more than partisan politics as usual. Why is anyone amazed that people have tuned out government and stopped actively participating?

Elected officials would do well to remember most Alaskans don't give a hoot who's a "D" and who's an "R." What the people want are elected officials who will do the right thing for Alaska and Alaskans.

The cruise ship legislation is the right thing. It will help protect the state's air and water quality. Is there any Alaskan who doesn't want that?

It's too bad the legislation didn't pass during the regular session, so the expense and aggravation of a special session could have been avoided. Now, the best we can hope for is a short, sweet special session that sends the bill to the governor's desk.

It's the right thing to do.

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