Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Informal legislative tradition"

I don't have much to add to my previous screeds about the farcical casino "debate" entering its 11th hour on Beacon Hill this week. With the Governor noting yesterday that a "chasm" remains separating house and senate negotiators with a mere three days left of their back-alley negotiations, I am cautiously optimistic that this unseemly rush to foist casinos on the Commonwealth will be pushed back until at least next year.

I did, however, want to point out an illuminating observation embedded in last night's casino update from the State House News:
Most Senate Democrats have stayed clear of the conference committee, observing informal legislative tradition of not injecting outside voices into closed-door dealings.
Beacon Hill democracy, ladies and gentlemen!  Where even elected representatives in the majority party are deemed "outside voices" who dare not inject their thinking - or that of their constituents - into "closed-door dealings."  What a fine, if "informal" tradition! 

There are a lot of contested legislative races out there this year.  It might be worth asking the candidates in your own local races whether, if elected, they will observe this "informal legislative tradition."  Knocking on that closed door every once in a while to weigh in on an issue of crucial importance to voters well beyond the boundaries of the tiny number of legislative districts actually represented behind those doors does not seem too much to ask of an elected representative in a supposed constitutional democracy.

1 comment:

  1. Dan,

    Great post. I am running for State Representative in the Eighth Suffolk District and this type of lack of transparency is a key reason.

    If elected I will offer a bill that would require our legislature to operate under the same open meeting and transparency laws that they have applied to local government.

    I think it is outrageous that Republicans are completely excluded from the conference committee meetings.

    Most people don't know that Republicans were similarly excluded from final negotiations on the "Ethics Reform" bill last year.

    We are not going to change the culture on Beacon Hill until we start changing the people.

    ReplyDelete

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