Nobody Promised that Democracy Would be Pretty

The week will start with a good show,  but it looks like it’s heading down hill after that.  My guess is that it’ll take some really fine sandpaper and a lot of polish to make this week shine.

Obviously, the star attraction is the Senate vote on the governor’s bill – HB80 – that lets cruise ships dump waste — such as copper,  ammonia, nickel and other dangerous shit —  where I’m fishing.  Turns out that a lot of people are saying someone in the administration lied about the political misuse of the so-called science panel and there have been a few misrepresentations of some of the administration’s arguments.  Also, no one yet is willing to explain why this thing has to rush to the governor’s desk without people taking a serious look at it.   So here it is.  Let’s vote.

I haven’t heard whether the opponents are thinking about a referendum on the bill. That’s where the public overturns a legislative action.  It’s only been tried three times in the state’s history – successfully in two of them.  This is so obviously the reason the process was included in the constitution:  a legislature off on its own,  ignoring the direct will of the people; a subject that is quite simple for voters to understand; and a law that really favors only one company at the expense of its competitors.

However,  I can more likely see politicians making drowsy speeches, writing letters to their constituents and basically giving away the ability to arouse a public.  There’s a strong risk that next week the issue will be signed and dead – and the Princess herself will decide what else she wants to convince her to stay in the wilderness of Alaska.  Maybe lower taxes?

The bill opens on the Senate calendar on Monday. It could be voted on then, but a polite legislature would wait until the next floor session.

The governor’s oil tax bill will get its first House hearing Monday afternoon.  Since this is the same committee that gave us that cruise ship bill over in the Senate,  I don’t have a lot of hope for anyone taking a hard look at it.  That’s okay because it seems the Senate is raising a lot of questions about the tax bill. I don’t know if those questions will be answered,  but we can hope.  The Senate Resources Committee will have its first hearing on the bill later in the afternoon.

The only bill interesting to me on Tuesday would ascertain that only clear-headed Americans get state assistance.  The bill – HB16 – gives the welfare guys the ability to demand drug tests and birth certificates or something before helping anyone.

There is a free lunch on Tuesday though – a presentation on the Bokan Rare Earth project.  This is one I might want to attend just to find out if it’s true that it is illegal to hike up toward the mine because of the radioactive waste that has spilled along the road.

There’s only one thing to do on Wednesday.  Listen to Chief Justice Dana Fabe make her State of the Judiciary address.  She makes wonderful speeches and she has a high level to meet after last year’s speech by her predecessor Walter Carpeneti.   This is a call to your superego:  Do this because it will be good for you.

Actually,  I’ll give you permission to take off the rest of the week after Justice Fabe finishes her speech.  The schedules look dreary and, historically,  Valentine’s Day means that most of the married members – or the ones with significant relations somewhere else are heading out of town to deliver flowers and candy.  I only know of one or two who have to decide whether to go somewhere else or to deliver the goodies here in Juneau.

Here’s the schedule for the whole week.  Nobody promised that democracy would be pretty, or even interesting.

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