WC can understand that citizens could be confused about the current status of the Alaska Legislature. Are they in session or not?
Now WC also understands that even when all 60 legislators are gathered together in Juneau it can be hard to tell if they are actually doing anything. Other than the usual name-calling, back-biting, rumor-mongering, excuse-making and mud-slinging. That’s more or less the normal state of affairs. But this is a different question. WC isn’t asking if the legislators are working; the question at hand is whether they are in session.
So far as WC can tell, there is only one legislator in Juneau, Senator Dennis Egan (D, Juneau). And he lives there. There’s nothing on the legislative calendar. There is committee meeting scheduled but not until 3:00 PM.
In fact – well, according to the Anchorage Dispatch News at least – to the extent there is anything happening at all it seems to be an effort to avoid meeting in Juneau. House Speaker Mike Chenault (R, Nikiski) admitted that his focus now is finding if he can muster the requisite votes to adjourn the special session convened by Governor Walker and recovene in a new special session in Anchorage. So the primary focus of legislative leadership seems to have to devolved into planning its next meeting. Our elected representatives think that’s more important than a budget, protecting young children or getting medical coverage for 40,000 Alaskans.
Are we just supposed to believe, without logic or evidence, that the peoples’ work is getting done?
WC has the very lowest possible expectations for the Alaska Legislature, and in particular the crowd of squirrel food and raven bait that presently controls both chambers. But, really, they’ve shifted from ineffectual to farcical. It might be more amusing if there weren’t real emergencies, and if we weren’t paying these clowns per diem to do absolutely nothing.
And that’s the answer to the lead question, isn’t it? We can tell the Legislature is still in session because we are still paying them per diem.