August 26, 2010

Senator Frank Maher on the Counting of the Votes on the Senate Floor

Carroll Andrew Morse

If you don't believe that the Rhode Island legislature is fundamentally broken, click on the video below, compiled by Operation Clean Government, which shines the light of day on how far Rhode Island's ruling Democratic-Party oligarchy will go to dispose of legislation that they do not want passed (in this case, the E-Verify bill).

I've cued the link to a spot where it should take viewers who possess any sense of honesty or fairness all of 20 seconds to realize that the most basic norms of democratic governance are not respected by the ruling majority in the Rhode Island legislature.

At Saturday's Tenth Amendment Rally at the Rhode Island statehouse, I asked Senator Frank Maher (R - Charlestown/Exeter/Hopkinton/Richmond/West Greenwich), as someone who was on the Senate floor when it happened, if he wanted to offer any comment on the disposition of the E-Verify bill. The Senator articulated multiple problems that he has with the Democratic leadership's way of running a legislative body...

"I don't know of anybody who can really determine whether or not the yays or the nays had it. It certainly seemed to me and a lot of others that I've spoke to that the nays were louder than the yays. Well, if that's the case, and you can't differentiate exactly between who won the vote based on the voice vote, as Senator O'Neill and I and other members of the chamber did, we wanted to make sure everybody was logged as to what their vote was. And that was not allowed."Audio: 25 sec

"As a freshman legislator, especially in the Senate, I felt very disappointed in the process. I felt that the Senators in the room were not allowed to be heard, which meant that their constituencies were not represented. And at the end of the day, it's really a shame that we were not able to get a vote, to find out exactly who was going to support it and who was going to support it, and who was not going to support it...because I can say all day long that I support it, but until it actually comes to a vote, where you actually have to hit that button, either red for no, or green for yes, how do you really know what somebody's position is..."Audio: 1m 6 sec

"And I hope that that never happens again, on any piece of legislation, and I hope that Senator Cote [the bill's sponsor] decides that he wants to submit that bill again in 2011, should he have the pleasure of being re-elected, and I know if I have the pleasure of being reelected to serve the people in District 34, I know I will be seeking him out to make sure that I co-sponsor it next year..."Audio: 51 sec
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Some of the Seniors need to take a lesson from the Freshman Senator and his fellow Freshmen. Grow some ----s. District 34 should be proud to have such a principled Senator. Good luck in your bid for reelection and please stay true to your constituents. To those of you that just go along to get along, someone said not too long ago, why do you stay if you don't have a say.

Posted by: leprechaun at August 26, 2010 4:41 PM

How about questioning every Democrat candidate for senate whether or not he will be voting for the current leadership team of Weed and Connors?

Posted by: David P at August 26, 2010 7:49 PM

Weed needs a new straight man. Connors isn't running for re-election.

Posted by: Don Botts at August 26, 2010 8:55 PM

"Weed needs a new straight man."

Ah, but can she get one as smirky and eager to do her illegitimate bidding as her prior?

Posted by: Monique at August 26, 2010 10:27 PM

Gordon Fox initiated H5663 so that there would be transparency in government through open meetings. The failure to conduct open meetings at the end of each legislative session by suspending the rules should never happen. It is expected. It is not an emergency. It is planned.

It is ironic that all of the Cities and Towns must abide by the rules set out by the legislature to create transparency, yet some of the most important meetings at the state level are never subject to the same criteria. Following Open Meetings and keeping bona fide minutes of meetings would solve 95% of the problems with government.

The checks and balances come from the Attorney General's Office and Citizen complaints. However, the AG's Office and Citizens should not have to police the legislature that created the rules.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at August 27, 2010 9:20 AM

A bipartisan group of State Senators should arrange to do a round-robin, forcing -every- vote to an electronic roll-call in the next session. No more hiding behind unaccountable voice votes.

Posted by: mangeek at August 27, 2010 11:44 AM

Just another disgraceful incident during a session of the General Assembly. They have that fancy voting system so why not use it for everything instead of leaving it to the biased ear of someone to decide who won a close vote? Hopefully this November Paiva-Weed, Connor, and all others like them will be voted into the position of regular citizens, and their opponents elected to the General Assembly.

Posted by: Gary Trott at August 27, 2010 11:54 AM


Posted by: kathy at August 27, 2010 10:22 PM

It sure does one thing- Weed can't so much as swing her gavel without being told she can by someone else. What a pathetic excuse for a leader.

Posted by: BH at August 29, 2010 5:04 PM
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