Shorter session would cost state more

Posted: Monday, October 23, 2006

Ballot Measure No. 1 on the November 7, 2006 ballot is to shorten Alaska legislative sessions from 120 days to 90 days. This Measure should be based on the Legislature, in past years, being able to complete its business in less than the 120 day regular session. This assumption, however, would not be correct. In the last twelve (12) years, there have been fifteen (15), costly special legislative sessions, extending the sessions beyond 120 days. From these facts, one might conclude that regular legislative sessions should be extended, not shortened?

Also, unless our legislators vote themselves a cut in pay, shortening regular legislative sessions from 120 days to 90 days would have the effect of giving all legislators an automatic 25 percent increase in pay. ( 30 days is 25 percent of 120 days) I do not recall any legislator nor any discussion in the 2006 ballot election pamphlet mentioning this hidden “perk”?

There is an old adage, which applies: “Why is it there is never enough time to do the job right the first time, but there is always plenty of time to do it over and over again?” Until our legislators demonstrate they can do their jobs in 120 days per year, it make no sense shortening the legislative session, and giving them a pay increase in the process. Vote NO on Ballot Measure No. 1.

Richard Hahn


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