Hard to believe this is a Republican form of
February 10, 2017
By District 1 Representative Heather Scott
Week #5 of the 2017 legislative session is
coming to a close and legislators have been
busy. To date, a total of 155 House Bills and 82
Senate Bills have been printed.
These bills are routed through committees, where
testimony is presented on the bill. If passed
out of committee, bills must pass through both
chambers and be approved by the governor in
order to become law.
While every legislator’s vote is equal during a
full House or Senate floor voting session, every
legislator’s representation of their district is
not treated the same way.
Each Committee Chairman has the ability to allow
a bill to be heard or not be heard within the
committees. This is where politics can get shady
and the most likely place where citizen’s
freedoms and liberties can get trampled.
Many committee chairmen follow a top down,
centralized-power type of agenda instead of
allowing every legislator to present the ideas
of their constituents. The Committee Chairman
makes the final decision if a bill is even put
on the agenda.
Does this sound like Lincoln’s “government of
the people, by the people, for the people” to
you? Me neither.
If a Committee Chairman crosses the Speaker of
the House, the Speaker can remove that chairman
from his/her position and replace them with a
new chair. This may be the reason a committee
chairman from last year lost his position this
year, after he voted against the Speaker’s bill
at the end of last session.
It’s hard to believe at times we still call this
a Republican form of government.
This style of leadership not only hurts
conservative liberty minded republicans but also
democrats. Citizens from a broad spectrum of the
population are being silenced.
It should also be noted that legislators gain
seniority the longer they stay on the same
committee. Seniority generally leads to a
chairmanship. Moving legislators around on
committees during every session is a slick way
for leadership to insure they either “stack the
deck” in committees they need to insure the
proper voting results or to keep those they
dislike from staying on committees where they
are effective, or to gain a chairmanship
Currently there are several good bill ideas
sitting in Committee Chairmen drawers (see my
reference above as to why the Committee system
needs revisiting) and are being denied an
opportunity to be introduced and debated. These
bill ideas (called RSs) are being refused an
all-important hearing which is required to give
an RS a bill number.
This is one of the many reasons I always
encourage citizens to get involved in their
government. You can make your voice heard by
frequently contacting committee chairmen and
demanding these ideas be heard and receive a
Click here to find the necessary contact
Questions or comments about this
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