Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tisei Hits Legislative Committee Process

What promised to be a relatively brief and routine Senate session today turned a bit more interesting, as Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei blocked action on a proposed extension order affecting a number of bills still pending in committee.

Although joint legislative committees were required to take action on all timely-filed bills by March 17, most of these committees have already been granted temporary extension orders. The latest request for an extension order – which passed the House earlier this week – would allow these committees to extend their reporting deadline to May 18, but Tisei moved to lay the extension order on the table.

As the State House News Service is reporting, Tisei is questioning whether the current committee process in broken and in need of a shake-up. Tisei said the joint committees have “failed in their duty” to render timely decisions on many important pieces of legislation. Nearly 17 months into the current session, and with less than three months of formal sessions remaining, he argued that these committees have already been given more than enough time to make a decision.

“I do think that we need a little more accountability,” said Tisei, who suggested the continued delays could be viewed as an attempt by legislators to “run out the clock” and avoid taking positions on many controversial matters which remain bottled up in committee.