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No Time Clock For Our Legislature

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

 

All right, so it was the runup to Easter, and you wouldn’t expect much from the Legislature, especially on Good Friday. Still, this glimpse of the work culture in the Statehouse is an eye-opener. After all, the rest of us work during Easter Week.

According to Beacon Hill Roll Call, which tracks not only the progress of legislation but the amount of time each chamber spends in session, “During the week of March 25-29, the House met for a total of 26 minutes while the Senate met for a total of 54 minutes.”

Nothing if not methodical, BHRC records the length of each session:

Mon. March 25 House 11:01 a.m. to 11:12 a.m./Senate 11:02 a.m. to 11:05 a.m. (Send your suggestions as to what the Senate could do in three minutes to editor @valleyadvocate.com under the heading senatemonday.)

Tues. March 26 No House session/Senate 11:02 a.m. to 11:07 a.m.

Wed. March 27 No House session/No Senate session

Thurs. March 28 House 11:04 a.m. to 11:19 a.m./Senate 2:00 p.m. to 2:46 p.m.

Fri. March 29 No House session/No Senate session

So did they make up for it the following week? Well, sort of. “During the week of April 1-5, the House met for a total of five hours and five minutes while the Senate met for a total of 24 minutes,” BHRC reports.

What to think of it all? BHRC is scrupulous about fairness and balance, so we can do no less than quote its reminder to readers:

“Many legislators say that legislative sessions are only one aspect of the Legislature’s job and that a lot of important work is done outside of the House and Senate chambers. They note that their jobs also involve committee work, research, constituent work and other matters that are important to their districts. Critics say that the Legislature does not meet regularly or long enough to debate and vote in public view on the thousands of pieces of legislation that have been filed. They note that the infrequency and brief length of sessions are misguided and lead to irresponsible late night sessions and a mad rush to act on dozens of bills in the days immediately preceding the end of an annual session.”

 

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