July 30, 2012

This Is How It's Done In The RI Senate

Patrick Laverty

We hear people talking about "throw 'em all out" and actually, I'm ok with throwing out the good with the bad, because we have so many more of the bad. But it's interesting when you can actually see first-hand just how bad it can be and the odds that are stacked against those that are trying to do some good up on Smith Hill.

I saw this video link come across my Twitter feed this morning and thought it'd be interesting to check out. It's from the second to last day of the 2011 RI Senate session when the issue of binding arbitration for teachers popped up on the floor for a vote around 10:30 pm. It went into committee, got amended, got out of committee, got amended some more and was ready to be voted on by the full body of the Senate. This is where Senator Beth Moura (R-Cumberland/Lincoln) steps up and simply asks to give this bill 24 hours so local mayors and town councils (not to even mention taxpayers) could see it and offer their thoughts back to their Senators, as that's who would have to live by it.

Immediately, Senator Maryellen Goodwin (D-Providence), the Majority Whip gets into the fray to defend the bill. Her defense is that the Senate is already aware that the mayors and town councils don't want this bill to pass, so it's pointless to wait 24 hours.

Really? That seems logical? You know you're doing something that your constituents don't want, so it makes sense to go forward and vote on it anyway? Plus, it's always interesting to hear the whining and complaining about needing to move legislation simply because it's late at night. I have an idea for you people, adjourn and come back tomorrow if you don't want to be there late into the night!

And what is with the comment, "I know you're a freshman..."? It's as if Goodwin is talking down to Moura. It seems like she's saying, "Aren't you so cute trying to do this, but we don't let things like that happen. Thanks for trying to play with the adults, now go back to the childrens' table."

One last point here. How do the citizens of Rhode Island deal with this behavior and react to the efforts of both of these senators? Goodwin is running unopposed for her seat while Moura has three others seeking hers. Gotta love Rhode Island politics.

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Ah, the infamous and well known "unopposed", those poor guys NEVER win...

The fact that Goodwin is running unopposed while Moura has three opponents, what does that say about their districts?

Goodwin was first elected in 1986, Moura is serving her first term.

Looks like the same old, same old. Once you're in and can prove that you can stay in for more than one term, AND your a Democrat.... perhaps there's no point in running against these people since you (as an opposing candidate) have little or no chance at winning.

Conversely, Moura is in her first term AND a Republican, so while I will plead ignorance as to the demographics of her district (D vs R), I'm guessing that for opposing candidates she's a much, much easier target. I'm sure she doesn't have the backing or resources that Goodwin has at her disposal.

I agree with Patrick, I'd rather vote them ALL out, the good with the bad. There are too many in the GA that have been serving since sometime in the 1980's, it's time for a very significant change.

To dare to dream!

Posted by: StuckHereinRI at July 30, 2012 5:19 PM

The fact that Senator Moura has three opponents shows how effective she is and how the majority party is afraid of her. She stands for what she believes and doesn't suffer even the barbs and disrespect her own party shows her. That includes the leadership of the "Strike Force" who claim they want to help elect as many Republican candidates to the Legislature as possible yet do whatever they can to subvert her campaign because she stands for her principles while others in her party go along to get along. Senator Moura voted AGAINST the budget that instituted and raised more taxes for the people of RI. This is the kind of conservative Republican and legislator RI needs more of. I look forward to Senator Moura being my Senator in the new redistricting next year.

Posted by: George W. Hadley at July 30, 2012 7:46 PM

"I know you're a freshman..."

I know you're a freshman so you've never seen bad politicians ram a bill into law. Why don't you sit down, stop worrying your pretty little head and watch how it's done.

(Thanks to Senator Moura for trying to bring a little sunshine and attention to a really bad bill.)

Posted by: Monique at July 30, 2012 9:33 PM

Please note the date. Three years later and nothing has changed just a few names. My question at the end is more relevant today than ever. Keep up the good work Senator Moura. Don't let them wear you down.

Terry Gorman: Eating, chatting on cell phones, nodding off: R.I. government is not like the civics books

01:00 AM EDT on Monday, July 6, 2009


I GUESS THE CASKET is closing on E-verify again this year. How unfortunate for the citizens of Rhode Island. That the taxpayers will still have to bear the burden of $350 million for the social-service costs of supporting illegal aliens, and that 21,000 illegal aliens currently hold jobs while 65,000 citizens and legal immigrants are unemployed, is beyond comprehension.

Ours is not government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” Our system seems to be government by just four people, and the governor is not one of them. It’s nothing more than a complete sham. The power resides solely with the speaker of the House, the House majority leader, the House Finance Committee chairman and the Senate president.

Go along to get along seems to be the rule in both chambers. If anyone doubts a sham is being perpetrated on Rhode Island citizens, all one need do is attend a committee meeting in either chamber.

At the session of the Senate Judiciary Committee (Michael McCaffrey, chairman# on April 1, I witnessed the following:

Over 20 bills were heard. While testimony was being given, most of the time there were only four senators on the dais #not a quorum).

Senators Harold Metts and Leo Blais were continually nodding off in full view of the spectators.

Sen. Rhoda Perry arrived halfway through the process and proceeded to talk on her cell phone for some time.

Senators Maryellen Goodwin and Erin Lynch held private conversations on more than one occasion for several minutes while testimony was going on.

While citizens were testifying on various bills, at least four other senators who are not members of the Judiciary came in and had conversations with various committee members.

The majority of the bills were held for further study, and the way they were handled was actually offensive to most of the citizens there. The chairman, almost losing his breath, simply stated “that ends testimony on bill No. ***, Sen. *** recommends bill be held for further study, Sen. *** seconds, all in favor, all opposed, bill held for further study.”

Only on two occasions did any senator other than the chairman actually vocalize the words “recommend for further study” or “second.” They all did respond either aye or nay. The chairman simply skipped around the dais from senator to senator with each different bill, stating who recommended or who seconded any motions. They simply nodded their heads after the chairman used their name. It seemed like the chairman did as he pleased in regard to the disposition of the bills.

Abuse on the House side seems to mirror that of the Senate. The gavel seems to be the most used tool in the chamber. The speaker is continually banging it to restore order.

At times, I have witnessed at least 12 separate conversations with numerous representatives being carried on at reps’ desks while other reps were presenting their bills. Side conversations are continually occurring with the speaker at the dais while representatives are presenting. Only the “chosen few” representatives are paying attention so when the time comes for them to interject the speaker’s mandates, they’re prepared.

Use of cell phones, eating, lack of quorums, private conversations and apparent disregard for the opinions of constituents, with the exception of the ACLU, unions and paid advocates for the poor, seem to be business as usual for both chambers.

It’s time for some of our legislators — they know who they are — to grow some backbone, start doing their jobs and truly represent the people they were sent there to represent, not just a chosen few. It gets more difficult to go in good faith to testify when it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the citizens’ opinions do not matter.

Why can’t our representatives take back our government and restore it to the way our Founders intended before Rhode Island becomes simply a county in Connecticut or Massachusetts?

I say to our legislators: “If you don’t have a say, why do you stay?”

Posted by: terry gorman at July 31, 2012 12:15 PM

"One last point here. How do the citizens of Rhode Island deal with this behavior and react to the efforts of both of these senators? Goodwin is running unopposed for her seat while Moura has three others seeking hers. Gotta love Rhode Island politics."

You got it baby. We deserve EVERYTHING we get in this state-everything. In my district the putrid Bea Lanzi is finally retiring and the new union puppet Lombardi already has hundreds of signs up. People vote for whoever has the most signs up when it should be the other way around. The people have been voting the same corrupt scummy party back in for eighty consecutive YEARS-longer than the Soviet Union lasted as a one party state.
Like Mexifornia and Illinois we deserve everything we get.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at July 31, 2012 1:53 PM
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