Friday, February 27, 2009

"The court of mild dementia that is the Legislature’s collective consciousness"

This incredibly apt description comes from the keyboard (and the mind) of one Jim O'Sullivan, writer for the State House News Service and author of that (subscription) publication's "weekly round-up." Said column is syndicated in the small regional papers and usually runs over the weekend. Jim is someone to watch - he'll be writing for bigger publications as time goes by.

The highlight of this week's round-up, which contains the wonderful description above, concerns (of course) the Governor's gas-tax stickup and the ham-handed way the Turnpike toll hike vote was handled this week:
They want to tax gasoline, do the kings and queens of the Hill. The frame for this debate this week became, finally, the signed, sealed and delivered $100 million toll hike, assigned in two stages beginning next month, and set to double tunnel tolls by July. The choice foisted upon the House and Senate: Patrick’s 19-cent gas tax, or a variation thereof, or significant toll hikes. Or a better idea, if you’ve got it.

Patrick’s 141-page bill went bafflingly unfiled until 5:15 on Tuesday afternoon, three hours or so after the Pike vote. No one seemed to be able to explain this final delay in any detail, but it’s accurate to report that the few extra hours – after a vote conditional to the success of legislation that had not yet been fully authored – cost the administration something dear in the court of mild dementia that is the Legislature’s collective consciousness.
I think henceforth I'll refer to the General Court (which is the official designation for our legislature) as "the General Court of Mild Dementia" - GCMD for short.

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