July 7, 2008

The Strings of Government

Justin Katz

Without regard to the topic, this article is worth a read for the insight it provides with regard to state government:

In a meeting of the House environmental committee on the next-to-last day of the legislative session, all the members had worn neon yellow stickers publicly declaring their support for companion bills that would raise maximum fines against industrial polluters from $1,000 to $25,000 a day — without compromise.

The committee chairman, wearing his own yellow sticker, said he was determined to bring one of the identical bills up for a vote and get it on the House floor, even if it cost him his chairmanship.

But the committee vote never materialized. ...

By all accounts, Malik needed a green light from the House leadership — House Majority Leader Gordon Fox in particular — before he could call for a vote on a bill in his own committee. And that signal did not come. ...

... "Nothing happens without the concurrence of the leadership," [Rep. Joseph Amaral, R-Tiverton] said. "There is no discretion given to committees.

"If they don't vote the way the leadership wants, their personal bills don't get passed. People don't get promoted or put into certain places," Amaral said.

"The concentration of power is delegated to too few individuals," he said.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Yep. RI government is very authoritarian. The Speaker of The House is the most powerful politician in the state.

The rules are very restrictive, which does not help. The rules concentrate power in the Speaker. If you don't vote with the leadership, they punish you.

Talk with former Rep. Rod Driver. He struggled with this authoritarianism when he served for 8 years.

Posted by: Citizen Critic at July 7, 2008 10:57 AM

Sounds all too familiar . Seems like the Majority Leaders of both Chambers might collaborate on how to vote against the wishes of their constituents . Didn't the E-Verify bill ,with 27 cosponsors , meet the same fate in the Senate due to the opinion of the Majority Leader ? How long is it going to take before we wake up and take OUR power back with Representation that that truly REPRESENTS their constituents ?

Posted by: leprechaun at July 7, 2008 11:16 AM

The only Power these morons have is the Power we, and our Reps, give them.

Perhaps Malik, and others, should have shown some backbone and pushed the vote, regardless of Gordon Fox's approval or disapproval.

Posted by: George Elbow at July 7, 2008 7:14 PM

"Perhaps Malik, and others, should have shown some backbone and pushed the vote, regardless of Gordon Fox's approval or disapproval."

Silly rabbit, they love having their positions of "power" (even if somewhat illusionary) more than they care about their constituents! No slavish obedience to the leadership means that they don't remain as committee chairmen.

Posted by: Will at July 7, 2008 10:54 PM

As satisfying as it is to vent on this site, it's even more important for us to be heard by the general public where possible. I just sent the following letter to the Warren Times.

Headline: Whom do our representatives represent?

Dear Sirs:

Jesse Jackson might like to emasculate Senator Obama, but again Rhode Island politicians lead the nation. Democrat party leaders have already done that to our representatives.

The timid acceptance by Jan Malik of the “leadership’s” peremptory refusal, apparently at the behest of a Southern Union lobbyist, to bring the industrial pollution bill to a vote at the end of June is one example. The failure of the overwhelming majority of state senators who expressed their approval of the E-verify bill to overcome the personal opinion of their majority leader is another.

If there is a scandal here it lies with the lobbyist and the House leaders whom he directly manipulated. But there is a shame here, and it lies with our representatives who don’t have the stuffing to stand up for Rhode Island citizens against a single lobbyist’s influence.

Chalk up one more reason to sweep them all out and start with a fresh team in the Assembly.


Robert Newton

Posted by: Bob Newton at July 11, 2008 9:20 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.