July 10, 2013
Time is money, legislators' pockets edition
Mark Twain wrote, in what is now a blog post-opening cliché, that "no man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session." That's a problem that our state's constitution tries to address by limiting the regular legislative sessions to 105 days in odd-numbered years and 60 days in even-numbered years.
But our legislature has had a little difficulty of late coming to agreement in those time frames. Since 2010, the legislature has gone into eight special sessions. Since shame is apparently not enough of a motivating factor to keep legislators within the time limits, Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom thinks a little disincentive might do the trick. Andrew Garber at the Times reports:
Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom thinks he knows a way to prevent lawmakers from pushing the state to the brink of a government shutdown in the future: Fine them if they take too long to pass a budget.
Tom created a buzz after broaching the idea of a $250-a-day fine for each day lawmakers go past the time allotted in the regular session.
It being one of those ideas that the public is sure to love and the political class is sure to hate, Tom's proposal likely has very little chance of moving forward. A group with the resources to gather signatures to get it on the ballot, though, wouldn't even have to campaign after that. It would be a sure-fire winner.
Rep. Ross Hunter threw cold water on the idea, calling it "not enforceable" and raising the issue of the state constitution, though he stopped short of calling it unconstitutional. Even if that's the case, surely we could come up with some non-monetary ideas, short of the stocks, that provide legislators with the appropriate inspiration to get their work done on time. Leave your best idea in the comments.
Posted by Adam Faber at July 10, 2013
09:25 AM | Email This
is the level of mendacious, brazenly entertaining hackery Dr. Steve and scottd talked about in the last thread! Well done, sir! Well done! Citing the person most responsible for the gridlock and waste
of our legislature's latest session(s) as a wise source of solutions (!) for said garbage is pure, delicious hackery at its very finest. One would have to dig back into Jim Miller's glory days here to find a regular poster with such obvious contempt for the sentience of his readers.
And, after the turgid, laborious, and tiresome slog that was Adam's last post, the economy here shows marked improvement. Even the larding of dishonest pseudo-populism works to advantage here. Bravo!
Gee, dime bag, you seem a tad upset.
Look, I get that it must suck for you, but here's the thing: you lost. You really should get over it.
Lying is so typical, yet so unbecoming of you fringe-left hacks.
I mean... seriously.
3. Frankly I think the stocks would be better. Most of our politicians deserve to be spit on and kicked for their brazen contempt of the citizenry, even as they receive plenty of special benefits at our expense.
4. Pulling the per diem and fines will not work, Ross Hunter is correct. Most of the Democrats are backed by Unions, Tribes and Lawyers who will make them whole. As a matter of fact, they would probably live "high" off of the unencumbered funds they would be provided by their backers.
Since Tar & Feathers might be considered a bit extreme, hit the Legislature where it hurts, their funding. For each day late with a budget, the state is required to return a total $1 million to each each citizen 18 years or older, divided up based on state population, and distributed in the form of rebate checks.
$30 million lost to buy votes if a month late might get Dems' attention. Only fear would be Republicans delaying budgets on purpose to cut Dems' wasteful and bloated spending.
I think it's past time to remind ALL legislators that they work for and at the will of the PEOPLE.
Rep Steve Pearce of NM thinks it's time for Congress to telecommute.
I heartily agree and, as I said in another post, I would take it further and make them do so from a public accessible venue such as a library. We are a government of and by the people and yet our government shenanigans/negotiations are hidden from us. While the uniformed are complicit in their low information, so is the way we allow our employees to hide from us.
Bring them to their home districts. Give them a desk in a library and let them act on our behalf in our presence and with our input.
Personally I am sick to death of the fact that our calls are screened, our email is only allowed if we have the right zip code and that we are made to wait months for a response that is a vague vacuous form letter of platitudes (yes, I'm referring to you Tennis Shoes and your head under the desk counterpart).
The upside is that decisions that affect We the People far more that the masters we elect will slow down. We actually will have a deliberative body of the people rather than snotty employees who think they are in control and give their allegiance to the lobby with the most money for the next election.
When are we citizens going to find the ... cojones ..to take back the government for which we pay? Why are our employees so afraid we will?
Since tm comment's hyperlinks to the post at HA were deleted -- jealous much, guys? -- I did not submit their ideas which Adam solicited. Carl Ballard suggests Rodney Tom either resign, or actually do what he promised his constituents do: caucus with the Democrats. Either would have avoided our two useless special sessions. (The comments there have other good suggestions, which you'll have to read for yourself.)
My own suggestion is to charge Rodney Tom for the cost of both sessions. And while we're on the subject, let's look at the Senate bill to repeal Initiative 120, our voter-approved abortion-rights law. Such a repeal will never, ever become law in our state -- even if it could pass both houses and not get a veto, we voters would reject it via Referendum. How about charging the senators who sponsored that waste of time for the cost off that time? We could apply this waste charge to entire sets of proposed legislation, long championed by right-wingers, which will never become law. That would get quite a bit of waste out of sessions like the ones we just endured.
8. My own suggestion is to charge Rodney Tom for the cost of both sessions.
That would set quite a precedent against every single governor ... and president who is forced to call a special session because of partisan infighting, one-ups-manship and heel dragging. Further, knowing a certain party, they would purposely drag their heels just to punish the party that has to call the special session.
And, who would you charge in the case of Texas where FERAL gallery screamers prevented the work from being finished before the session deadline?
Like Harry Reid, his filibuster threat and his forgetting his party will one day be out of the majority in the US Senate, you seem to assume that yours won't ever be again be in the majority here at home.
Nice to know.
9. Tensor, can we retroactively charge Christine Gregoire,Lisa Brown,Frank Chopp for all of the special sessions of the past eight years as well?
There would have to be at least one exception to the Go-Nowhere Bill Waste Surcharge the Republicans would have had to pay for their anti-choice legislative failures, though. Back in the '90s, workers-rights legislators introduced a bill to raise and to index our state's minimum wage, knowing the Republican majority would never let it go for a vote. It was a verbatim copy of an Initiative placed on the ballot that year, which passed easily, and is still law. In that case, when the go-nowhere bill's proponents can show that THEY are the ones doing the people's work, the fine would be levied on the do-nothing majority.
This is fun! I can see why Adam proposed sending such suggestions. I'm sure you fighters of government waste are delighted!
Well, I'm just glad we've finally found something we all
(Adam - the lazy HACK, King Tom, (un)Sound peanut gallery and the majority of Washingtonians who elected a WA Senate majority who prefer Democrats)
can agree upon.
The cost of the Republican obstruction on the WA Budget facilitated by King Tom's coup was too high for what King Tom and the WA Republicans delivered.
Yes, something must be done.
Boo hoo hoo a Democrat traitor is spending money we don't have ... shall we discuss the exact SAME thing under the golden calf and his sycophants?
God your hypocrisy and double standards are staggering. Too bad you don't see them.
"Boo hoo hoo a Democrat traitor is spending money we don't have ..."
I think that's being too harsh on Rodney Tom. Sure, he wasted my tax money but he's hardly a traitor, Rags. Well, except to his party of course.
14. It's sad that pudge and that other guy pretty much drove everyone away from this blog. Now it seems there's like five people left reading.
15. Apparently the people who elect aren't hurting enough as they keep on electing the same jerks who do their same dog and pony tricks for their lobbyists and keep on getting applauded and re-elected for that. The reason is the guy I think is a jerk is the other side's hero. Dragging your heels is a form of governing, poor governing admittedly but governing none-the-less.
16. Gee, who elected these legislators you're complaining about? Maybe the voters who sent them to Olympia should be fined. Oh wait, I get it, it's not your legislators who are the obstructionists, it's the legislators of the other party who are the whole problem. Uh-huh. I think the short answer to this whole issue is that the voters of Washington State collectively elected a Democratic majorities in both houses of the Legislature and a Democratic governor, and the only reason a special session was necessary to pass a budget this year was because of Rodney Tom's chicanery. The solution is for voters of his district to take care of that problem if/when he seeks re-election.
17. Or, for us to elect Democratic super-majorities, as has happened in California. (For any local Republicans who say one-party rule is bad for democracy, we note that's what voters will do if the other party does nothing but engage in blatant obstructionism.)
18. It's simpler than fining them. Tell them that they cannot pass any legislation until they pass a budget. That will keep the sessions short, and save us, the public, from much of the crap bills they seem to pass every year. They should spend their time on the important things first.