Just how strange was this session?

Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2001

See if you can pick out the false statement about the conclusion of the regular legislative session.

Warning: A statement is not erroneous just because it seems like it should be.

(A) Republicans, who held only one formal news conference all year, complained about poor reporter attendance at their post-adjournment news conference but then wouldn't let reporters enter late.

(B) Gubernatorial flaks were on the second floor soliciting reporters away from the majority news conference about to be held in the House speaker's office, and then a majority flak followed reporters to the governor's third floor conference room to try to get them back.

(C) Two senators repeatedly asserted that there are few if any regulations affecting municipal sewage in Alaska.

(D) Members of the Knowles administration said it's significant that the heart surgery planned for the wife of Sen. John Cowdery is not scheduled for the exact day the special session starts.

(E) When Gov. Knowles was in New York at his daughter's college graduation, aides said a special session shouldn't be held up because of Cowdery's personal scheduling conflict.

(F) Cowdery told the cruise ship industry that the bill it supports is too tough on the private sector.

(G) Cowdery says cruise ship legislation isn't needed because the industry already has agreed to a binding contract to abide by its provisions, which he says are unfair.

(H) Sen. Pete Kelly, the Fairbanks Republican often blamed for escalating the rural-urban divide, apologized on the floor for interrupting Sen. Georgianna Lincoln, the Democrat who represents the state's most rural district.

(I) I apologized to House Judiciary Chairman Norm Rokeberg for not pointing out that he said "Zip your lip" to Rep. Ethan Berkowitz only after the feisty minority leader refused to wait his turn during committee debate.

(J) After the lowest primary election turnout on record, widely attributed to the emergency rules creating a second ballot, the Legislature has approved a six-ballot system for the next election.

(K) Reps. Scott Ogan and Al Kookesh were both kneecapped by constituents for sponsoring a bill taking the right to privacy away from North Slope producers who are planning a pipeline to run alcohol to a private prison in Kenai.

OK, you probably guessed (K). But notice the lengths I had to go to, in order to make it stand out.

Now stay tuned for the "special" session.

Quote marks:

"Who knew what when?" - Rep. Beth Kerttula, Juneau Democrat, on what the governor or his staff knew about the medical condition of John Cowdery's wife and when they knew it

"My guess is they were supporting not only (Rep. Eldon) Mulder's efforts but Cowdery's efforts, and that clouded things in the final days to the point that nothing could get through." - Water quality advocate Gershon Cohen of Haines, on political maneuvering by the cruise ship industry

"Political Statements Cleaned, Oiled and Accurized." - Sign on office door of Rep. Richard Foster of Nome, advertising services of "Interim Industries, Inc."

"Something happens when they become senators. They don't mince words. They don't give a damn. If you don't like how they feel, there's the door." - MADD lobbyist Cindy Cashen of Juneau

"People worry about heating up the economy. That's like worrying about warming up your car in the winter." - Berkowitz on why some legislators opposed accelerated transportation construction projects

"After a session of closed caucuses, legislative Republicans tried something new: closed press conferences." - Juneau Sen. Kim Elton, in his newsletter

Bill McAllister can be reached at billm@juneauempire.com.

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