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Alaska 90-Day Legislative Session Initiative, Measure 1 (2006)

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The Alaska 90-Day Legislative Session Initiative, also known as Measure 1, was on the November 7, 2006 ballot in Alaska as an indirect initiated state statute, where it was approved. The measure decreased the length of legislative sessions from 121 days to 90 days.[1]

Aftermath

The first 90-day legislative session was held in 2007. Sen. Gene Therriault (R-F) predicted that 90 days would not be sufficient and special sessions would have to be held.[2]

In 2010, a report stated that legislators were not getting enough sleep and were saying they had limited time to communicate with constituents over the three month period. The report was produced by a legislative subcommittee in the Alaska House of Representatives and was lead by Rep. Paul Seaton (R-31).[citation needed]

Sen. Gary Stevens (R-P) proposed changing the legislative session length back to 120 days. He proposed a bill to do so in 2001, saying, "The rationale was to save money, but it hasn’t saved money... I think the public has been shortchanged." Stevens also said that there was less time to review bills and less time for public involvement. Sen. Thomas Wagoner (R-Q), who supported the initiative, disagreed. He said, "I think it’s working fine. We save everything until the last 10 days anyway, that’s when the business gets done."[3]

Sen. Stevens' bill was approved by the Alaska Senate, but never came up for vote in the Alaska House of Representatives.[4]

Election results

Alaska Measure 1 (2006)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 117,675 50.83%
No113,83249.17%

Election results via: Alaska Department of Elections

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[1]

This initiative would reduce the maximum length of a regular legislative session from 121 days to 90 days.

SHOULD THIS INITIATIVE BECOME LAW?

YES
NO[5]

Support

Supporters of the 90-day legislative session argued that a shorter session was be cost efficient. Proponents of the initiative noted that 27 other states had, at the time, shorter legislative sessions and that a 90-day session would be an incentive to introduce only necessary legislation and curb excessive laws. A shorter session would also allow for more citizens to run for office since they would spend less time away from their jobs, families and communities.[citation needed]

Opposition

Opposition was lead by Sen. Gene Therriault, who said a shorter session would lead to less public participation. Opponents also argued that shorter regular sessions would result in more special sessions and higher travel costs. Furthermore, opponents argued that lobbyists and interest groups will have more influence in a 90 day session due to time constraints on bills.[citation needed]

See also

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References