Story last updated at 3:23 p.m. Thursday, May 16, 2002

Legislature could take a lesson from grads
It's spring and students are taking the last few steps toward graduation. They all deserve a round of applause for their hard work, determination and accomplishments. Graduates of all ages are being handed diplomas at several area schools. College and high school graduates will grab their diplomas and head down different paths of life. Graduation is a juncture, a chance to make decisions about where to head next. Take the time to choose wisely. Some will head to colleges and universities to continue their academic studies, some will follow their interests and hone their skills in a vocational environment, and others will launch into the less structured sea of life. Each graduate, regardless of direction, can hold their head high and stand proudly. We congratulate you on a job well done.

Another group that's wrapping things up and moving on is the Alaska State Legislature. Regretfully, legislators have less to show for their work on the biggest issues facing the state. The House worked hard and did its part on forging through the political minefield of new taxes and revenue enhancements to close the fiscal gap, despite initial reluctance from its leadership. Rep. Drew Scalzi, a freshman member of the Republican majority, deserves credit for having the courage to do what is best for Alaska, in spite of political ramifications.

The Senate foundered in the morass of big issues facing the state. The Senate leadership never got the message from moderates like Sen. John Torgerson that it was time to get moving on the big issues confronting us. Unfortunately, Torgerson spent much of the session trying to breathe life into a natural gas pipeline that is too expensive to build without government assistance. His goal was admirable <> to create revenues through economic development that will eventually pay for running our state <> but the Senate came up short on addressing our fiscal dilemma.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the legislature was still in regular session, an indication that they recognize their failure to act. Hopefully, the last 24 hours will be fruitful.

Graduates will move on to the next step in their lives, our legislators will move on to the Legislature's special session on subsistence. Which will be more productive? It's up to each of them. Good luck in your endeavors.