Friday, July 03, 2009

Sine die

I gave it a few days to see if the legislature's adjournment sine die was merely a maneuver to avoid next-day response to the governor's vetoes. That is probably the reason for such abrupt adjournment, but the special session has yet to be scheduled, and there's no word yet on whether many of the bills left hanging, some of which merely needed to be re-heard in the House or Senate after being amended in the other body, will be considered in addition to budget matters.

So ends the "legislative session from hell", from the standpoint of public oversight and participation. In an ordinary year, hearings are scheduled well in advance and posted to Web calendars, allowing comments to be placed via the ALIS system, citizen testimony before committees, phone calls to be made, letters to be sent, and 'bloggers to provide analysis. Not this session. This year we saw committee meetings canceled or postponed for months while the legislators squabbled with each other and with the Governor on the budget, and then a two and a half week blitz in which bills were heard with 24 hours' notice. To top it off, by the end, they still couldn't come up with a final compromise.

I'd call this session our flirtation with Banana Republicanism, but bananas don't grow here like they do in Venezuela or Nicaragua.

More on a couple good but stranded bills to follow in the next few days.

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