Empire Editorial: Legislature must make the most of a limited resource

With only 90 days in the Legislative session, 89 of which remain, lawmakers are being asked to make the most of a very limited resource — time.

Ever since the session was shortened from 120 to 90 days in 2007, lawmakers every year seem to lament the short amount of time given to pass bills. What should make this daunting task a bit simpler, though, is if they focus first on the bills that really matter; bills that make Alaskans safer, smarter, wealthier and those which provide more opportunities. Leave everything else for later.

Too often the key bills with potential (or guarantee) to have the largest impact statewide are slow-moving out of the gate, and end up being debated and revised up until the final days or hours of session. While we absolutely support vetting an issue properly, we also hope hot-button topics and key issues are given first priority over legislation with minimal or no impact.

We’re not saying Alaska shouldn’t celebrate Marmot Day on Feb. 2, or that the Malamute shouldn’t be recognized as the state dog, but in no way should bills like those detract from others that will have an immediate and long-lasting impact.

Too few high school students graduate on time, and many that do aren’t prepared for the rigors of college. Alcoholism and domestic violence still plague communities from Barrow to Ketchikan, and energy costs in rural Alaska grow more expensive with each passing year. These are among the issues that Alaskans want to see discussed, debated and, if necessary, passed into law. These are the types of issues that most lawmakers promised to address when running for office in the first place.

Session is the time to fulfill promises to constituents.

Let 2014 set a different tone for how the Legislature handles business by forgoing the procrastination and unnecessary politics that worm their way into the legislative process each year. Lawmakers were elected to provide a critical role in how our state operates in both the short- and long-term future, but are given a relatively small amount of time to get the job done.

We urge lawmakers to identify the critical issues and tackle those first. Once that’s done, focus in on the small stuff.

And if there isn’t time left over, the state won’t be any worse off than it was before the session started. 

CONTACT US

  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

 

More

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 18:31

Helping victims redefine their worth: Taking a stand against human trafficking

Sex trafficking is a rapidly growing, very lucrative crime in our state. In fact, most trafficking victims were first exploited as children. A recent Loyola... Read more

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 18:30

Local elections matter

Amid all the turmoil surrounding national issues and candidates jockeying for statewide office, it’s sometimes difficult to take time to study and participate in our... Read more

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 18:29

Alaska’s economy depends on ocean science and technology

When considering the importance of our national maritime economy, it’s hard to miss the connections between Alaska and the ocean. Alaska has the longest coastline... Read more

On seniors, ‘political spin’ designed to distort facts

The Sept. 13 Letter to the Editor by Dean Guanelli and the Sept. 15 My Turn by Assembly member Debbie White on the senior tax-exempt... Read more