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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

House rules

For all the questionable reasons House Speaker Sal DiMasi may have for disliking a special session, his concerns about not stirring the pot may be the worst.

The Globe reports that DiMasi is concerned that he won't be able to control the sideshow that has developed between Majority Leader John Rogers and Ways and Means Chairman Robert DeLeo should lawmakers return to take up issues surrounding the growing fiscal crisis.

The succession battle for a seat that still isn't vacant took up a lot of the oxygen during the waning hours of the legislative session in July. Given the tightening screws around DiMasi that isn't likely to change.

While Gov. Deval Patrick ordered $1 billion in cuts and 1,000 layoffs, lawmakers need to approve some of his budget-tightening proposals -- mostly notably an always unpopular House call to raise the health care deductible for state employees and to impose a tax on telephone poles.

To be fair, lame duck sessions can be awful things. Members who have lost or opted to leave can return to create mischief -- willfully or not. Voters don't like the idea virtually unaccountable lawmakers making law.

Not to mention the fact that right now, Patrick takes all the heat for some of the unpopular cuts.

DiMasi has some cover on his reluctance to bring lawmakers back for a lame duck session. Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Mike Widmer, for one, thinks things can wait until January.

But as the fiscal problems deepen (hopefully Question 1 won't add to them) there is the obvious need for leaders to, well, lead.

DiMasi, who has prided himself in retaining control of the Beacon Hill agenda even with a Democratic governor, would now appear to content to let that governor take all the credit and blame -- just so that he could avoid having to deal with internal problems.

That's not a great message to send at the time political backbone is needed.

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Blogger dan bosley said...

Mass Lib,
Don't fall victim to the innuendo of the Boston Globe. Yesterday they reported that "sources" said that a grand jury was convened to look into this issue. Today, they report the grand jury formation without the caveat that sources have said this without on the record confirmation. This falls into a familiar pattern that we have seen lately concerning the Speaker and this paper.
Today, "sources" said that the House may not come back because of the leadership jockeying. The only sources that was named for the record denied this allegation, but that didn't stop the story from it's negative direction. Tomorrow the Globe will "report" this as fact.
It is a shame that, at a time when many of us are working hard to come up with solutions for coping with the largest budget crisis in the past twenty years, the Globe ignores these attempts in favor of continuing this campaign of suggestion and innuendo. And it is a shame that in a past session of landmark legislative initiatives such as the Senate President's Health Care bill, Gov. Patrick's Life Science bill and the Speaker's Green community and clean energy bills (to name a few) the Globe has opted for titillation and gossip over news reporting. One wonders how much casino advertising is anticipated by the New York overseers that they should place this much effort into attacking a Speaker that by everyone's estimate has a political philosophy very much in line with (the old Boston directed) Globe ideology.

October 22, 2008 6:41 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Thanks for your perspective Mr. Chairman

October 22, 2008 6:48 AM  
Blogger gwen said...

House Rule is a rule that governs the confidentiality of the source of information received at a meeting. Since its refinement in 2002, the rule states"When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither The rule originated in June, 1927, at what is now best known as House formally known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs with the aim of guaranteeing anonymity to those speaking within its walls in order that better international relations could be achieved. It is now used throughout the world as an aid to free discussion. The original rule was refined in October 1992 and again in 2002.Meetings, or parts of meetings, may be held either "on the record" or "under the House Rule". In the latter case, the participants are understood to have agreed that it would be conducive to free discussion that they should be subject to the rule for the relevant part of the meeting. The success of the rule may depend on it being considered morally binding, particularly in circumstances where a failure to comply with the rule may result in no sanction.he identity nor the affiliation of the speaker, nor that of any other participant, may be revealed." .

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November 28, 2008 11:32 AM  

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