MFM Op-Ed: Wasting Time at Taxpayers Expense

4/18/18, by Rep. Beth Connor (R-Berwick)

Statutory adjournment for the 128th legislature is April 18th, 2018. I am in the house chamber writing this letter in ultimate disappointment that instead of voting important legislation throughout this session after it had been fully vetted through the committee process, the bills were held, not referenced to the calendar for our consideration, or if on our calendar were tabled more than once.

Day after day I have come to the chamber to work, to get the job before me done. Day after day I sit in the chamber and wait. We are supposed to start at ten am, but almost every day we begin at least a half hour late, and some days it is more than that. Some days there are dozens of items on the calendar that are ready for our votes. So many days in this “emergency session” these items stay on the calendar, we don’t vote them instead we get sent home early.

Today, the last day at least six bills were tabled, all were Republican bills be held hostage. And again, today, the last day of session we broke for lunch before our work was done and were told to be back for the ringing of the bell to call us into chambers at 3:00. The bell never rang until after 4:00 and we did not begin voting until after 4:30.

At about 6:00 o’clock this evening an order came before our body to extend the 128th legislative “emergency session” by five days. That order needed a 2/3rds majority to pass. This was debated for over an hour. I voted no along with 65 other Representatives. The motion failed.

During the debate, many legislators stood up and expressed how so many things were so important, and now — at this late hour — we need to have more time to do our job. The job that we should have been doing since January. We had plenty of time to get the work done, and we would have gotten it done but for the political games that are being played.

Instead of getting to work and voting out as many bills as possible to get them to the desk of the Governor, we broke for dinner, a nice little pizza party. A pizza party that lasted 2.5 hours all the while the clock is ticking.

Now one would think after the chest thumping, and finger pointing of how important it was to get the work done I would think we should have forgone the pizza and finally got down to work and voting on those oh so important bills.

Disingenuous is the mildest term I can use to describe the shenanigans that have transpired not just today, but for this entire second half of the session.

If I ran my household in this manner, I would be living outside in a cardboard box.


Representative Beth O’Connor

HD 5 Berwick and North Berwick (part)