commentary by Timothy Horrigan; October 22, 2011
This is an op-ed I wrote for the Dover, NH Foster's Daily shortly after a somewhat pointless session day where we passed several bills which will go nowhere because the Senate is not coming back into session. The paper chose the rather generic title.
A part-time citizen
I spoke to SB 198 on the floor on October 12. Here are my prepared remarks. These are not exactly the same as what I actually said. On the floor, I added two or three points which are also covered in the op-ed piece:
Remarks about SB 198
Timothy Horrigan; October 12, 2011
If passed in its original form, SB 198 will save the state a large sum of money. There is some uncertainty over the exact numbers, but the savings will certainly run into the millions. To paraphrase the late Sen. Everett Dirksen: a million here and a million there and pretty soon we're talking real money.
If this House amends SB 198, we have to rely on the Senate agreeing to come back before we can even have a conference committee. They don't have to come back.
If we pass SB 198 as is, without the amendment, then the bill goes straight to the Governor's desk. That is reason enough to kill the amendment.
The process by which the amendment came be attached to SB 198 was flawed. Yes, it is not against House rules to stick a non-germane amendment on a Senate bill, and yes this tactic has been used before, by both parties. But it's a bad tactic, especially when there is plenty of time left to deal with the issue. That's another good reason to kill this amendment.
But there is an even better reason to kill the amendment. This amendment is bad legislation. The Marital Master program is far from perfect. I know from my work on the Petitions & Redress Committee that not everyone is pleased with every decision the Marital Masters make. But that is no reason to kill the whole program. These Masters serve an invaluable function: they specialize in making what are the most difficult decisions our courts have to make. We shouldn't be destroying the Marital Master program: we should be strengthening it.
This amendment is, I am sad to say, part of a larger campaign to undermine the independence of our judicial branch, We shouldn't be undermining our judiciary, we should be strengthening it. There are many changes which need to be made, but we can make them in an orderly and transparent fashion after a full debate.
Please vote against this amendment.
Rick Perry's November 30, 2011 speech before the New Hampshire House (where he mentioned Texas's part-time legislature several times)