And This Was A Bad Idea Because…um…Why?

( - promoted by Bob)

Often, the GOP are derided as nay-sayers.  The good ideas offered are ignored, as they don’t fit the meme.  The Rules proposed by the new Speaker have been adopted, but the Minority Caucus offered several amendments that were quickly shot down.  Some of these ideas have been discussed approvingly here.  So…why?  Why can’t simple reforms – like leaving roll calls open for a minimum period of time when committees are in session, to allow members time to get to the chamber – be considered?  Below the fold is a list of proposed amendments, and the vote (and kudos to the few brave souls who dared vote for the most necessary)…


# 1 GOP

Rule 16 – Requires the Ethics Committee to file a report with the Clerk disclosing the number of complaints received, the number of complaints determined to have merit, the number of complaints determined to be without merit, and the dates of all committee meetings held during the Session.  (21Y-135N)

# 2 GOP

Rule 16 – Requires the Ethics Committee to file a report with the Clerk of the outcome of a complaint which has been made public through the nature of its filing or if it has been made public for any other reason. In such cases, the report shall be made whether the allegation is determined to have merit or not. (23Y-133N)

# 3 GOP

Rule 16 – Establishes an 8 member Ethics Committee (currently there are 11 members), with 4 members appointed by the Speaker (currently 7) and 4 members appointed by the Minority Leader (currently 4).  (22Y-133N)

# 9 GOP

Rule 7A – Eliminates the need to refer bills with local approval to Steering, allowing them to be considered more quickly by the House. (23Y-133N)

# 12 GOP

Rule 9 – Requires all members who witness improper voting to report it. (17Y-137N)

#18 GOP

New Rule – Requires the House to consider a resolution no later than March 15th of each year, defining the minimum financial contribution the Commonwealth will make to cities and towns for lottery distribution, Chapter 70, and additional assistance.

(22Y-132N)

#19 GOP

Rule 52 – Requires roll call votes to remain open for at least 4 minutes and to remain open for at least 10 minutes if there is any committee meeting ongoing.  (20Y-129N)

#20 GOP

Rule 52 – Sets punishments for voting for another member. Any member who votes or attempts to vote for another member shall forfeit all votes on the matter in question and shall be publicly censured. This amendment also sets a punishment for a person (non-member) voting for a member. The person in violation shall be barred from the floor of the House for the remainder of the session and may be further punished in a manner determined by the House. Finally, if a member fails to notify the Clerk of an absence as required by the rules and it results in improper votes, the member shall be punished by public censure. In any instance of improper voting, this amendment would direct the Clerk to correct the Journal to reflect the changed votes, along with a notation of the violation. (18Y-137N)

#21 GOP

Rule 85A – Ensures that independent auditors have access to all financial records of the House and would require that audits be conducted with generally accepted standards to ensure the public trust. (16Y-138N)

#22 GOP

New Rule – Require a roll call on any bill that includes a tax increase. It would also prevent such bill from being enacted unless there is at least one month before the deadline for filing nomination papers for state representative. A two-thirds vote would be required to suspend this rule. (16Y-137N)

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27 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Quote

    "Government is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex"

    Frank Zappa

  2. hmm....

    1 GOP

    Rule 16 - Requires the Ethics Committee to file a report with the Clerk disclosing the number of complaints received, the number of complaints determined to have merit, the number of complaints determined to be without merit, and the dates of all committee meetings held during the Session.  (21Y-135N) # 2 GOP Rule 16 - Requires the Ethics Committee to file a report with the Clerk of the outcome of a complaint which has been made public through the nature of its filing or if it has been made public for any other reason. In such cases, the report shall be made whether the allegation is determined to have merit or not. (23Y-133N)

    So, the Republicans want a loud ethics committee, so they can file any number of gossip as "ethics complaints".  Then, when the unfounded bs isn't acted upon, desperate Republicans can say how the Speaker is taking care of his/her own, because only 2% of these exaggerated complaints resulted in action.  Fake outrage ensues.

    # 3 GOP Rule 16 - Establishes an 8 member Ethics Committee (currently there are 11 members), with 4 members appointed by the Speaker (currently 7) and 4 members appointed by the Minority Leader (currently 4).  (22Y-133N)

    There have been cases in state legislatures of speakers coming from the minority party.  This confused rule conflates the roles of speaker and leader of the majority.

    # 9 GOP Rule 7A - Eliminates the need to refer bills with local approval to Steering, allowing them to be considered more quickly by the House. (23Y-133N)

    # 12 GOP Rule 9 - Requires all members who witness improper voting to report it. (17Y-137N)

    Eh.

    #18 GOP New Rule - Requires the House to consider a resolution no later than March 15th of each year, defining the minimum financial contribution the Commonwealth will make to cities and towns for lottery distribution, Chapter 70, and additional assistance. (22Y-132N)

    Good chance to get some grudges going.

    #19 GOP Rule 52 - Requires roll call votes to remain open for at least 4 minutes and to remain open for at least 10 minutes if there is any committee meeting ongoing.  (20Y-129N)

    Good idea.

    #20 GOP Rule 52 - Sets punishments for voting for another member. Any member who votes or attempts to vote for another member shall forfeit all votes on the matter in question and shall be publicly censured. This amendment also sets a punishment for a person (non-member) voting for a member. The person in violation shall be barred from the floor of the House for the remainder of the session and may be further punished in a manner determined by the House. Finally, if a member fails to notify the Clerk of an absence as required by the rules and it results in improper votes, the member shall be punished by public censure. In any instance of improper voting, this amendment would direct the Clerk to correct the Journal to reflect the changed votes, along with a notation of the violation. (18Y-137N)

    It took me three readings to realize that you were trying to say "in place of" rather than "in favor of".  Writing bad language into law is a bad idea...

    #21 GOP Rule 85A - Ensures that independent auditors have access to all financial records of the House and would require that audits be conducted with generally accepted standards to ensure the public trust. (16Y-138N)

    And who picks the auditors?  Maybe if the Republicans could actually dig up a decent candidate for state auditor -- something a half-decent political party would have done given the circumstances -- this wouldn't be a problem.

    #22 GOP New Rule - Require a roll call on any bill that includes a tax increase. It would also prevent such bill from being enacted unless there is at least one month before the deadline for filing nomination papers for state representative. A two-thirds vote would be required to suspend this rule. (16Y-137N)

    I dislike the Republican rule of instituting tricks and red tape when considering tax increases.  The majority of people in this state don't believe that we need more government bureaucracy on issues that tick off conservatives.  We would have a productive stimulus in place if we didn't need to deal with Senate rules instituted by Republicans that are designed to hamstring governments trying to deal with fiscal problems.

    sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • What? You are not serious?

      "I dislike the Republican rule of instituting tricks and red tape when considering tax increases.  The majority of people in this state don't believe that we need more government bureaucracy on issues that tick off conservatives.  We would have a productive stimulus in place if we didn't need to deal with Senate rules instituted by Republicans that are designed to hamstring governments trying to deal with fiscal problems." Sabutai

      Oh----you mean like having a bill that you can read before voting on it?  

      Lets do things the democrat party way. The Speaker whispers into the ear of the first democrat congressman that we have to spend more money or the sky will fall in. In an hour there is a stampede of democrat congressman  to vote on giving away the entire federal treasury. Aforementioned quote is one of the most bizarre things I have ever read anywhere in any forum. God forbid that the cretins on Beacon Hill or the US Capitol bother to read anything they vote on. Just go in and vote. They can have a session catered with open bar---nothing ever happens of any consequence anyway. I just can't wait til the next congressinal election when everyone wakes from their euphoric slumber and realizes they have been raped in every orifice available. There won't be an ass in congress.

       

    • Ethical form is needed.

      "So, the Republicans want a loud ethics committee, so they can file any number of gossip as "ethics complaints".  Then, when the unfounded bs isn't acted upon, desperate Republicans can say how the Speaker is taking care of his/her own, because only 2% of these exaggerated complaints resulted in action.  Fake outrage ensues."

      That's a baby-with-the-bathwater argument.  There are a number of well-founded ethical complaints that the current system is not handling.  The ethical problems of the current legislature are well documented, but the system continues along unchanged.

      At some point, if the Democrats can't clean up their own house, the Republicans (or somebody) will successfully use the issue to take the house over in a cleaning exercise.

      There's an element to your argument that goes like this: "We have ethics problems, but we can't admit them, because the Republicans will use that against us."  I don't buy it.  Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  3. I like some of them

    But look, this "balance power" (a la #3) are nonsense.  The minority isn't entitled to balance.  They're the minority.  And frankly, I don't trust the GOP brand to ever be fair when they're in the majority.  I don't recall the MA GOP legislators outcry against DeLay's antics in the US House.  Do you?

    So: 12.  Sure.  Love it. 19.  Dunno enough about how it's done now, but if there are committee meetings going on, people should have time to make it to the vote. 20.  I don't know that your rule goes far enough.  As far as I'm concerned, you try to vote for another member, you should be in jail.  You should be subject to the same law regarding elections -- 5 years, $10,000 fine, or both.

    But: 3.  Go screw.  Bi-partisan is not equal to non-partisan.  I'll rely on the media and GOP whining to keep the Dems in check.  Giving the GOP 50% of the vote only guarantees that both parties don't have a check. 9.  Go screw.  Majority party controls the flow.  No end-arounds. 22.  Go screw, and then go screw again.  Tax legislation isn't any more or less sacred than other legislation, GOP talking points be damned.

    • Yup----your one hundred per cent correct---and what goes around comes around and if you think for a second

      that 1991 only happens once---hold on.  

      • And that's the point

        If the MA GOP gave no indication that they were interested in these state reforms in a national scene a few years ago under DeLay's Congress, why should they be taken seriously now?  Why should the MA Dems take the MA GOP's reform suggestions seriously when the MA GOP wasn't pushing them on the GOP power base?

  4. Reforms suggested by the minority party are suspect...

    Because we don't know if they'll be offering the same reforms when they become a majority.  Certainly 14 years of Republcian controled Congress proves this point.  

    • And the lege's antics around how an open senate seat is filled

      like taking away Romney's appointment deal.

    • 100% Correct...

      If a touch cynical.

    • At the same time, the Mass. GOP is re-embracing social conservatism in a big way

      MassResistance is crowing about GOP sponsored bills to:

      - require parental consent for any discussion of homosexuality in school (Brad Jones refile of a MassResistance original) - eliminate the abortion clinic buffer zone - allow "religious views" in school - eliminate the Massachusetts Commission for GLBT Youth - remove "obscene" material from schools

      Seems like an odd tactic in this state.

      • Guarantees continued irrelevancy.

        Their obsession with homosexuality is simply embarrassing.  So Peter, what say you about this?  We're really supposed to treat this brand of Republicanism differently than we do the national variety?  

  5. VOTE FOR THE GAS TAX!

    Your majority will shrink rapidly. You have absolute power, go ahead, try it.  

    • Hardly

      While that number of GOP state reps may not accurately reflect the proportion of MA voters that are GOP supporters (I.e. 10% GOP reps, but MA gave over 30% to McCain), I don't think any informed person believes the MA GOP will capture the majority in this state for a verrrrrry long time (if ever). Even if every Dem is caught paying for hookers with tax payer dollars, the GOP claiming the majority is as unlikely as the "hooker" scenerio.

    • Also undertaking

      the rather tough job of pay by the mile GPS microchip frying equipment.

  6. Remember that the progressives called for an end to the filibuster

    .............once they got control of the house and senate?

    • Geez Joe

      You're one of the very, very few conservatives on this board who didn't go absolutely bonkers with the Inauguration of President Obama.  Please don't tell me that you'll be sliding into vituperative irrelevancies, too -- we're already exceeding our quota lately.   You're one of their best hopes for constructive dialogue.

      Despite four "responses", I have yet to see any conservative actually discuss the issue at hand -- the gaping democratic and legal holes in the GOP-proposed rule changes.

      sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
      • Sab - the genuine viputerative irrelevancy comes from those BMG'ers who cannot discuss MASSACHUSETTS without discussing the national GOP.

        Why couldn't the Mass GOP dictate to Congress?  Gee whiz - does that mean that the Mass Dems wanted the school construction money in the stimulus bill?  HOW can we trust you when you cannot control Harry Reid?

        The only rules that the Mass GOP has any say about are those fom Mass.  And teh Democrats have once again demonstrated their hypocricy.

        • I don't really think...

          ...either party in the General Court can necessarily pull strings in Congress.  However, the MA GOP is especially in a horrible position because none of our congressional delegation is Republican.

        • Not to nitpick, but both of the national threads were from Mass. GOPers

        • Peter

          Why does every conservative on this thread refuse to address my points, including you?  Debate the issues, rather than tell me that the posters on BMG should somehow "control" the Senate Majority Leader.    

          sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
        • It's hardly irrelevent

          since without its national affiliation, the MGOP would be about as salient today as the Working Families Party. Or the Whigs.

          Even aside from that, the fact that your party is towing the wingnut line makes that line fair game.

    • $quot;The$quot; progressives

      I'm not sure we all call for an end to the filibuster. I'm not sure I do.

      What I find alarming, though, is the unrestrained readiness with which the Republican minority takes up a weapon that formerly was only used on extraordinary issues. After Frist's threats to abolish it, one shouldn't be surprised to hear Democrats make the same threat.

      I echo sabutai's complement. IMHO, you are one of our two or three best conservative commentators.

      • Okay, okay

        maybe not "the" progressives, but Ryan sure toots that horn, and if I was going to have an issue of Vogue about progressives, you better believe he'd be on the cover =)

        I think you have to see where I'm coming from.  I've been politically conscious since...2001?  maybe 2002?  And I haven't been...we'll say obsessive...since like 2004.  I don't remember Bill Frist aside from the fact that he saved some persons life on the side of the highway and was a do-nothing majority leader.  I've never heard any Democrat discuss taking away the filibuster until 2006.  Now, I know Ryan (progressives) have X, Y, and Z reasons that may, in of themselves, be reasonable bases for which to wish to see the filibuster end, they still weren't expressed until we lost the majorities.  David Axelrod just this morning was talking about how the Republicans have suddenly become fiscal-responsibility-minded and he attributes this to politics rather than any actual desire for fiscal responsibility.  I'm seeing the same thing.  

        At this juncture I would like Ryan to comment to see if my suspicion has any weight to it, and if he would, in fact, agree to be on the cover of the progressive issue of Vogue.  I've already submitted my glamour shots for the conservative one.  Ha.

      • and thank you for the compliment

        If I go bashing my head on my desk in a fit of anger and frustration, my brain will be unable to do any good rebuilding my party =)

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