May 13, 2003 11:00 pm

State Rep. Gordon Anderson apparently has not learned the principle that a legislator must strike when the iron is hot in pressing for legislation.

Anderson, R-Grants Pass, announced he is pulling back his bill that would make killing a pregnant woman a crime of double murder. He said the House of Representatives is too busy with budget matters to consider his bill, called "Kerry's Law." He plans to reintroduce it in 2005.

HB 3503 is named after 29-year-old Central Point resident Kerry Repp, who was found dead in her home a year ago. She was three months pregnant. Her husband, Gary Repp Jr., has been charged with her murder, but not for the death of the fetus.

The current session, not the one in 2005, is the best time to air Anderson's bill because of the high-profile Laci Peterson case in California. Peterson's husband, Scott Peterson, was charged with double murder after the bodies of Peterson and her unborn child washed up from San Francisco Bay.

Unlike Oregon, a suspect in California can be charged with double murder when the mother and an unborn child die. California and 25 other states, including Idaho and Washington, have laws protecting unborn victims of crimes. Certainly, many Oregonians would want the same kind of law to apply in their state.

Yes, Rep. Peterson, the Legislature will have its hands full trying to come up with a balanced budget for the 2003-05 biennium in the next month and a half or so. But the state funding crisis is not the only important item on the agenda. There are other key pieces of legislation making their way through the chambers. Anderson can only hope Kerry's Law will gain the momentum it will need in 2005, when the Peterson case is more of a memory.

Trim NBA playoffs

The National Basketball Association's playoff season is dragging on far too long.

The first round, involving 16 teams in a best-of-seven series, started in late April and ran for two weeks. You'll remember Portland was eliminated in game seven of its series with Dallas. The second round, the semifinals of the Western and Eastern conferences, is about half over, with some of the teams tied 2-2. Sometime later this month, four teams will advance to their conference finals, which will drag on for another two weeks or so.

In June the NBA finals, pitting the Western and Eastern conference champs, could run another two weeks. That's way too much basketball. The first two rounds of the playoffs should be a best-of-five instead of a best-of-seven series, reducing post-season play significantly.

It's May. It's spring. And it's baseball season. Pro basketball games are hanging around much longer than they ought.