Lawmakers indulge in state-funded junket

Posted: Sunday, February 28, 2010

Several lawmakers on Tuesday defended their mid-session trip (to the Energy Council meeting in Washington D.C.) as important to their work in Juneau, given the importance of oil and gas in the state.

What utter nonsense! This is yet another reason why the length of sessions should not be extended. There are several cost-effective options for legislators to obtain any of the useful information that may come out of this energy conference. It may be taped in full for prompt review later; it may be teleconferenced to Alaska live via closed or open circuit; a small delegation of one or two selected legislators could attend and report back fully to the rest of their colleagues, etc.

By ignoring these relatively inexpensive options, it's clear that legislators are more iterested in an all-expense paid junkett back East than obtaining energy-related information. If past experience is any indication, most of those who go will attend few if any of the conference sessions, and instead gad about Washington at public expense or visit relatives or friends on the East Coast.

Joe LaRocca

North East, Pa.

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