The LG's Blogger Conference And Quotes Of The DayJan 30, 2008
Today was exceptionally important and busy. As such, it was rich in quotes, thus the plural in the headline. Read on. The most important government reform bill in recent years came up for a vote in the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee, and Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling had his Second Annual Bloggers Day at the Capitol. A lot of hustling around and hard work, to be sure, but there was fun to be had in House Finance to watch HB 1266, a gas tax increase bill from Delegate Robert Hull (D-38, Falls Church), get killed. Then the news came that Republican 11th District U.S. Representative Tom Davis announced he would not seek re-election. He wanted to run for the U.S. Senate a few months ago. Interesting, as always.
First the big news: Senate General Laws and Technology, in effect, killed "Google-government," SB 585 — i.e., putting the state's budget online in an easy-to-search, transparent format. The bill is patroned by Senators Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) and Chap Peterson (D-34, Fairfax). All is not lost, however, as a similar bill, HB 1360, patroned by Delegates Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst) and Onzlee Ware (D-11, Roanoke), is on life support. (More on this later in the next few session days.)
There are two major observations here: Senate Republicans, at least the old guard, still have not learned their lesson. Senator Walter Stosch (R-12, Henrico), who won renomination by a whopping 200 votes, and Senator William Wampler (R-40, Bristol) voted to carry the bill over for the year, in effect, killing it. The vote was 9-6, with the two RINOs voting with seven Democrats. If they held with the other five Republicans, the motion would have been defeated and they would have had the votes to report it to the floor if they desired, because Democrat Peterson was a co-patron of the bill and voted to defeat the motion. Lesson: Vote like most Democrats, and most Republicans will not vote for you, thus you lose elections and your majority.
The other thing learned here is, we're hurting the children. That's right and it leads us to one of our quotes of the day; pretty humorous if the result wasn't so hideous. In a moment reminiscent of a Simpson's episode, Senator Edd Houck (D-17, Spottsylvania) actually said the state couldn't afford to pay for a Google-like search engine system for the state budget (it would cost a few hundred thousand dollars) because it would be paying for a duplicative system (not true) and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (not true) at a time of tight finances and "when we're trying to educate our children."
Seriously, senator! Is that what it is with everything on the liberals' side? We can't do anything for open government, or any other reform, because it's always for the children!
Liberal demagoguery at its worst. When are voters going to sicken of this tripe? No open government, no citizen watch dogs over how elected officials spend taxpayer money, because of the children! Maybe, senator, maybe there would be money for the children if we could find the waste and abuse! But no, then you wouldn't have the need to jack up our taxes again!
It got worse. Huffing and puffing, the indignant Senator Houck said, "The message we're sending with this bill is we're not transparent and we're operating in the dark. That's not true!"
Oh, but it is, senator, it is. Buried in the state budget are contracts to Planned Parenthood. Buried in the budget are pork and earmarks, all carved out during budget conference committees that don't have the sunshine of standing committees. While there is an online system called Commonwealth Data Point, only policy analyst experts can derive anything out of it.
Part two of this tomorrow morning. It's getting late, and lots more stuff to go. There's the LG and other events, quotes and good times at your state capitol to report. Stay tuned.