It has appeared many times in the form of proposed bills before the Alaska Legislature. It has been alternately praised and condemned by politicians and the press and has never made it to a final vote. It's the idea to limit the Legislature to a 90-day session instead of the 120-spending extravaganza we currently have. But this time the people will vote on it.
Alaskans will vote in November on a very simple proposal:
"The Legislature shall adjourn from a regular session within 90 consecutive calendar days, including the day the Legislature first convenes in that regular session."
The implications of this simple declarative sentence are immense. First and most important, if this initiative passes, politicians will have far less time to spend the people's treasure and create an excess of laws, many of which are virtually unconstitutional.
The notion to limit the session to 90 days has been brought up many times in Juneau but never gets anywhere. Politicians are human and subject to power trips. They need to “bring home the bacon” to their districts. If all they do is mind the state store in a frugal and sensible way, they would have nothing to shower on voters back home. So it's no surprise they do not wish to limit themselves. That's why we the people as individual voters have an excellent opportunity to do it for them, by reducing the length of the session.
Opponents of the 90-day limitation have stated there would be no time to actually read the 500-plus bills created each year. But this is the kettle calling the pot black because even with the current 120-day schedule, many of these 500 bills still go unread and are completely understood. It's with deliberate purpose that the initiative will force fewer bills and hopefully only the most important ones.
This is most desirable if you believe in a free people who run their own lives instead of heavy government involvement. Further, it's not really a radical idea at all as some claim. Texas' Legislature meets every other year. New Mexico's every 60 and 90 days on alternative years. Montana's government is even better ... 90 days, every other year.
So it's with great sincerity and optimism that I endorse this initiative and urge you to vote for it and encourage your fellow Alaskans to do so. It's a real bell weather kind of proposal. It's intent is to reign in excessive government, a noble and very American idea. Watch the opponents very carefully. Most are directly connected with government and stand to lose either money or power if the session is trimmed. Their arguments are subtle but are really based on the fear of not being able to continue their positions unchecked.
I have watched from my seat in the House for the last 12 years as we waste time, day after taxpayer-financed day, singing happy birthday to each other, introducing friends in the audience and talking about how the Iditarod is going, as well as taking time with endless “at eases” where little is accomplished.
It's time Juneau was disciplined by a 90-day session. My only regret is that the initiative did not call for the 90-day session to be held every other year! Remember Thomas Jefferson's great line: "The best government is the least government."
Please join me in voting yes in November.
# # #
"... it's with great sincerity and optimism that I endorse this initiative and urge you to vote for it and encourage your fellow Alaskans to do so."