Alaska editorials: Keep special legislative session where it belongs

Posted: Monday, June 11, 2007

What's the price of legislative convenience? On the issue of SeniorCare, the price could be as high as $172,000.

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That's the upper end of how much more it would cost to host a three-day special legislative session, called to extend some sort of senior financial aid program, in Anchorage later this month rather than in Juneau. That's $297,000 to meet in Anchorage and $125,000 to meet in the capital, where the Legislature has its offices, staff and equipment, according to the Legislative Affairs Agency.

The cost rises to $619,000 if the session runs to 10 days in Anchorage and $300,000 if it runs to 10 days in Juneau, the support agency's deputy director noted in a memo last week to legislative leaders.

This one is easy to decide: Legislators should conduct the quick special session in Juneau.

Now, it certainly would be easier for legislators from Anchorage, Mat-Su, Kenai and even Fairbanks to head to the state's largest city rather than fly all the way down to Juneau and find lodging during the busy tourist season. But who said legislating is supposed to be easy?

If legislators have to sleep in their offices in the Capitol because the tourists have booked up all the hotel rooms, well, it serves them right - they should have resolved the issue of SeniorCare during the regular session.

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