This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 6, 2007 1:07 AM. The previous post in this blog was Q & A. The next post in this blog is All aboard the next tram. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Hana ho

The prospect of annual sessions of the Oregon Legislature is becoming very real. Apparently they're thinking of calling a "special" session in even-numbered years, as a "regular" thing. Sure, it violates the state constitution, but it's like Measure 37 -- they'll work around it.

I hope that they will hold all the even-year sessions in Lahaina, Maui. They sure seem to get a whole lot more done over there than they ever do in Salem. The latest in-depth, down-to-the-last-pickle update on the legislative junkets to that locale (and elsewhere) is available in today's O.

Comments (5)

Much of last year's wining and dining would be prohibited under new House rules put in place last month...

That's not really true.

The new House rules, for instance, ban House members from accepting entertainment, private restaurant meals, and out-of-state travel and lodging.

True enough. But --and this is the big but-- house members can pay for their "expenses" out of their campaign contribution war chests.

This year, however, the distributors... opted to contribute a total of $30,000 to the legislators' campaigns while they were in Hawaii rather than paying the lawmakers' travel costs.

So eveything's cool, right? No harm, no foul.

Except for the smell...

To the guy in the Corrections Department, it smelled so good that he wanted some.

The need for a major "government reform" package in Oregon is tremendous. No strictures seem to mean anything to our politicians - not the constitution, not an overwhelming vote of the people, nothing. Can you imagine the gall it takes to say "well we'll just declare an emergency every other year" in order to hold annual sessions when no one other than the politicians and Big Newspaper wants it? "Arrogance" doesn't begin to describe it.

Well, I'll go on record saying that I want annual sessions. One major reason that we get stuck with idiotic legislation is because our "citizen legislators" don't have the time, staff, or resources to fully understand the issues. Modern government is complex, and the legislature cannot effectively oversee and/or reform the state bureaucracy if they only meet for 6 months every two years.

Conservatives will lament that government has grown so complex. While that's a fine sentiment, reality on the ground is what it is. To understand Medicaid and the overall health care sytem, criminal justice and law enforcement, and primary and secondary education requires more than just common sense and an occasional trip to Salem.

an occasional trip to Salem.

The legislature agrees. That's why they take so many trips to other places.

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