Constitutional Amendment Proposed to Limit Legislative Sessions to 90 Days
January 18, 2016
“I respect the will of the voters, and in 2006 they asked the Legislature to get the job done in 90 days, so I think we need to get the job done in 90 days,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan). “We can’t afford to waste thousands of dollars because we were a week late getting our jobs done.”
This fall is the tenth anniversary of the ballot initiative passed by Alaskans voters in 2006 that limits the Alaska Legislature’s regular sessions to 90 days. However, the Alaska Constitution still includes language setting the length of legislative sessions at 120 days. House Joint Resolution 27 is sponsored by Rep. Matt Claman (D-Anchorage) and co-sponsored by Rep. Ortiz (I-Ketchikan), and Rep. Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks). HJR 27 would place an amendment on the November 2016 ballot to align the Alaska Constitution with the Alaska voters’ 2006 decision to limit the regular legislative session to 90 days.
“Last year, we spent $105,702 in legislator per diem by running over the 90-day statutory limit by eight days,” said Rep. Claman. “We need to listen to the voters and get our work done on-time and on-budget.”
According to a legislative research report, costs associated with failure to adjourn within the 90-day statutory limit during the 2014 and 2015 legislative sessions were $70,211 and $152,831, respectively.
Because the Alaska Constitution still says regular sessions of the Legislature shall adjourn after 120 consecutive calendar days, the Legislature can extend, without a vote by either body, past the 90-day limit placed in the Alaska Statutes.
“Alaskans should have the opportunity to let legislators know that they meant what they said in 2006 by amending the constitution to match the statutes,” said Rep. Wool.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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