Hodgson: Senate In 'Limbo' Until Vote On Same Sex Marriage
He decries the Senate's "lack of urgency"; Rep. Giarrusso says these early days are for getting bills written and, in general, tackling smaller issues.
One month into the General Assembly's 2013 session, things haven't changed very much from this point two years ago, according to Sen. Dawson Hodgson (R-Dist. 35).
"We’re about a month in, we’ve only had one or two calendars since inauguration day," Hodgson said, referring to days in which there's formal action on a bill. "This is the time of year when we show up and there’s no bill pending, there’s no votes ... on state business."
Hodgson said inaction on same-sex marriage is one reason for the Senate's seeming "lack of urgency."
"Whether you support same sex marriage or oppose it … these are deeply held motiviations and they are profound on both sides. For my colleagues who are deeply engaged on this issue on both sides, they deserve to see if it put to a vote," said Hodgson.
"If it passes, it passes. If it fails, it fails. And then we can truly address the economy," he said. "Right now everything seems like it’s in limbo."
Hodgson said he was confident about Senate bill S-154, which he filed last week. It calls for an audio or video recording of all committee hearings, debates and votes to be placed on the legislative website for three years.
"Citizens deserve to know how their laws are being made, and it is often difficult for them to accommodate their work schedules to the General Assembly's unique calendar patterns," he said in a press release. "Posting these deliberations online allows our constituents to see firsthand what forces are shaping legislation."
The bill has 21 co-sponsors, a majority of the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Special Legislation.
Rep. Anthony Giarrusso (R-Dist. 30) sees these early days of the session as the time when legislation is drafted and, in general, more narrow issues are tackled.
"They range far and wide, from one bill to require insurance companies to notify the DMV if a driver’s insurance has lapsed or been cancelled to another that asks that liquor stores and wine dealers get 60 rather than 30 days of trade credit," said Giarrusso via email. "The insurance bill makes sense; the trade credit bill makes none at all. Why should the state be regulating how certain industries conduct their business when there is no impact on the public?"
Giarrusso has his name attached to 11 bills so far, he said. "Many of those I have agreed to co-sponsor are focused on making government work better – term limits for state representatives, elimination of the master lever in elections, prohibition of lobbyist contributions from Jan. 1 through July 1 (when the General Assembly is in session)."
He said the larger issues will arise as the House Finance Committee begins its work.
"We have the governor’s point of view, and now the legislature must speak. So much of what government does – or doesn’t – is a result of budgetary authority. Vice President Joe Biden is credited with saying, 'Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.' Stay tuned; this is where it will get messy."