Tuesday, March 1, 2011


FIND THE RED QUEEN: You can set your watch- well, maybe your calendar- by it.

As the two minute warning for the first half of the legislature approaches, with “first decking” coming up on Friday, some wiseacre will try to use the old fumbleroosky play- called in the trade “the gut and replace.”

It’s a self explanatory way to get around the constitutional requirement that bills be introduced very early in the session and it tends to come up this week every year- usually this very day, the Tuesday before first decking, when almost every committee is doing “decision making” on all the bills that have been held up for one reason or another over the past month.

While everyone else- including the press- is busy watching their bill of choice, someone will inevitably try to slip in the worst piece of crap ever by gutting a good bill and inserting a horrific one.

This year's crook was Democratic Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, who has gutted SB 671- a bill introduced by Democratic Sen. Les Ihara to tighten up ethics rules on gift giving- and replacing it with another that would entirely blow up any semblance of ethics in gift giving.

But instead of it sneaking through, as has been the habit over the past decades, in the on-line age it dominated the on-line world late yesterday and this morning.

You can read the gory details at Civil Beat or almost any news and politics blog you choose- Dave Shapiro’s, Ian Lind’s and Larry Geller’s.

But only Geller figured out what the out the “rooski” part of the play was for anyone who discovered the fumble and wanted to testify.

He wrote:

Even if you wanted to testify against SB671 SD1, you can’t, because of the way it is set up. If you submit testimony it would be registered under SB671, not the amended version. Now, SB671, as originally written, appears to be a very fine bill. So if you testified in opposition, you’d be opposing that bill. It’s the way the computer is set up. The committee did not provide a way to testify against the new, evil amendment.

That’s right it's not even one of those “no means yes and yes means no” kind of dirty tricks. It’s more like the “head I win, tails you lose” swindle where the con man gets to interpret all the yeses and noes as whatever he wants them to mean.

Ordinarily this would be the part where we post the email address for the Senate Judiciary Committee but actually this time so many people know about the scam that it is apparently covered.

Instead cross your fingers that today’s decision making on moving oversight of medical marijuana from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health goes smoothly. Then if this stuff continues to give you headaches you’ll be more likely to have the medicine to help it go away.

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