Bumped, for the "f****** gentlemen." And people wonder why the House is held in such low esteem... - promoted by Bob_Neer
First, when you’ve got left (BMG), right (the Herald), and center (well, maybe center-left) (the Globe) agreeing on an issue, there’s probably a decent chance that they’ve got a point. In fact, just about the only people in Massachusetts who seem to think that repealing term limits for the Speaker is a good idea are the Speaker himself and just over 100 other House members, who just rejected an amendment that would have put the term limit back into the House rules. [UPDATE: the entire rules package has just been adopted, and the Speaker's term limits are no more.]
Early reports indicate that only 11 Democrats had the gumption to vote in favor of the amendment (Reps. Hecht, Ayers, Provost, Dwyer, Timilty, Rosa, Zlotnik, DiZoglio, Dinatale, Dykema, and John Rogers, per the Herald’s Matt Stout), and that of them, only Rep. Hecht spoke on the floor in favor of its adoption. Kudos to those brave 11 souls (especially Jon Hecht), who no doubt will feel the wrath of DeLeo brought down upon them in the form of crappy offices and committee assignments.
Second, to add insult to injury, a number of the House’s court officers and legislators apparently aren’t familiar enough with their own rules to realize that a caucus meeting is open to the public until closed by a vote of the members. Which results in embarrassments like this:
Two State House reporters clashed with Beacon Hill court officers before Democrats voted to close a caucus meeting where they discussed ending term limits for the office of House speaker….
The two reporters involved, the author [our own Garrett Quinn] and one from the State House News Service [Gintautas Dumcius], were initially confronted by a confused court officer and a handful of legislators that thought they had to leave.
The reporters informed them that House rules state that the meeting is open until it is voted closed by a majority of members present.
Two additional court officers confronted the reporters moments later before the start of the meeting and asked them to leave. When the reporters calmly repeated the rules to them the lead court officer grew increasingly agitated and grabbed the arms of both reporters before swearing at them.
“Am I going to have to have you escorted out of the f***ing building? I am talking! Quiet! Are you telling me you’re not going to leave?” said the officer, raising his voice.
The visibly agitated court officer continued to confront the reporters and grab their arms as if trying to move them out of the room.
“Why can’t you be a f***ing gentleman?” said the officer while loudly asking them to leave the room.
Here’s the kicker:
Both court officers involved in the confrontation declined to identify themselves when asked by the two reporters.
WTF. It hardly needs to be said that (a) court officers have no business refusing to identify themselves in circumstances like these; and (b) the reporters involved are owed an apology by the officers, and by the Speaker’s office. Naturally, the members who were present unanimously voted to close the caucus, at which point the reporters left on their own.
In sum, today the Massachusetts House of Representatives held an important debate that was closed to the public, roughed up a couple of reporters who were trying to cover it, and then voted to repeal term limits for the Speaker which had been put in place at the instigation of that very same Speaker as a needed reform to restore trust in government and guarantee the flow of fresh ideas.
Yeah, I’d call that a bad day.