Another sham public hearing at the State House . .
MA Judiciary Committee to citizens: We're not interested in your testimony!
An undemocratic bunch of contemptuous politicians delay pro-family testimony for hours.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS (TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 2008) Today the Judiciary Committee held its final public hearing. Two important pro-family bills were on the docket. But the committee -- again -- rigged the hearing. They made the 'regular people' wait several hours until most of them had to go home. It was the usual sleazy tactics and condescending attitude that has become common at the Massachusetts State House.
Wednesday, March 19, is the deadline for committees to decide on all the bills before them.
Don't bother. At least half of the people who came to testify ended up leaving before they were called up. Committee dragged hearing on into the evening.
Two important pro-family bills
For some unexplained reason, two bills which logically should have been heard at the March 4 hearing, were delayed until this hearing:
S925 - Repealing the exemption of schools from the law against “disseminating matter harmful to minors."
This is really needed because schools have been presenting extremely obscene material (such as the Little Black Book) to children and hiding behind this exemption in the law. Read more
S927 – Update the outmoded “wiretap: law to stop selective harassment of citizens taping public events.
The current, outmoded Massachusetts wiretap law is so broad that it can be used against ordinary citizens legitimately taping public events. The federal law, which is more sensible, should be used. Read more
However, it was clear that the Judiciary Committee did not even want to listen to testimony on these bills. They structured the hearing to make proponents needlessly wait all afternoon, into the evening to testify. Unfortunately, none of them could wait that long.
Gov. Deval Patrick (left - discussing the CORI reform bill) and a dozen other politicians, hacks, and "important people" were allowed to speak first for as long as they wanted. For over two hours everyone else waited for them to finish.
Here’s what happened.
- The Committee scheduled too many “big” bills to be heard that day. There were four other major bills; each of them lots of people there to testify. They included: A CORI reform bill, a bill to legalize possession of marijuana, a bill to ban the sale of violent video games to minors, a bill to make drivers financially accountable for horrible accidents they cause. The room was so crowded they had to open up the walls to the adjoining room. There is no excuse for not breaking this up into separate days.
- At 1:00 pm Senate Chairman Robert Creedon (D- Brockton) opened up the meeting and announced that there would be strict time limits: 5 minutes per person and 8 minutes per panel. Then he looked around and saw who was in the room. So he ignored what he had just said and let everyone talk as long as they wanted. This was unfair and an incredible time-waster.
- There was no discernable order or process. Creedon called up whomever he wished. However he conspicuously ignored the pro-family people and also the pro-marijuana people.
- Creedon allowed dozens of public officials and “important people” (including the Governor!) to testify first, making everyone else wait for hours. This is particularly annoying because the state reps see each other every day. Is their time more valuable than ours?
- As the hours dragged on, over half of the people who came to testify ended up leaving before they were called up.
- At 5:00 there were still about a dozen pro-marijuana people (most of them had already left) and the pro-family contingent. Creedon indicated that all the pro-marijuana people would go first. In other words, we’d have to wait until the very end. We couldn’t spend another late night, so unfortunately we had to leave.
- Thus, although we had arrived there pretty early, the committee heard no testimony on either of the pro-family bills. But their attitude was clearly dismissive of us. House Chairman O’Flaherty was chumming it up with the some of the left-wing CORI reform people, who had no trouble getting to testify.
Our conclusion: We’re going to tell people not to waste their time any more going to these sham public hearings. From now on, we’ll go to each rep and senator directly. If they think they can treat the public this way and get away with it, they’re wrong.