Representative Gordon Fox, Providence’s Answer to Frank Williams

According to the Projo’s statehouse bureau, even during a time of multi-year budget deficits, the Rhode Island legislature wants to take the idea of expanding government to ridiculously literal new heights…

Lawmakers want to explore expanding the State House.
Saying the seat of state government needs more, and larger, hearing rooms to increase public access to government, they voted to create a commission to study the issue. The brand-new idea was introduced as a resolution yesterday and voted the same day….
The proposal to expand the State House also came in at the last minute, but the sponsor, House Majority Leader Gordon D. Fox, said the idea had been on his mind since he visited Tennessee during a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting, and was impressed by how that state had built modern office space around the edges of its State House without compromising the historic integrity of the building.
During hearings on bills, committee rooms often get so crowded that the Capitol Police must monitor the number of occupants and set up television monitors in hallways so the overflow crowd can watch.
Fox’s resolution creates a 12-member commission, composed entirely of lawmakers, to study expansion options and cost and report back to the General Assembly by May 15, 2008.
If Representative Fox is really concerned about the public’s access to government, how about starting by not cramming most of the legislature’s important business into the last week of the session. If hearings and floor actions were more reasonably spaced over the full six-months that are available, there would be more room on any given day for the public to attend. Then, if things were still too crowded, we could discuss options for physical expansion.
Of course, making things better for the public by improving the utilization of existing resources is not the way our legislature thinks. Their answer to every problem they see — and a few that they’ve manufactured on their own — is to take money away from the public and spend it! spend it! spend it!
Title and body corrected from the original version which referred to Representative Fox as a Senator.

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16 years ago

Fox is a Representative, not a Senator.

16 years ago

“If Senator Fox is really concerned about the public’s access to government …”
… there are a number of much easier, less expensive, more important things the Legislature could carry out. I defer to OCG, Common Cause and others for the complete list but the Leg could start with the basics by making the voting record of its members accessible in some reasonable fashion.

Tom W
Tom W
16 years ago

Sell the Smith Hill building to Brown and have the General Assembly meet in that nice, big new courthouse in Lincoln!
The added benefit is that when the Democrat legislators are being arraigned the need only walk down the hall.

16 years ago

Don’t you realize they’re only thinking of us? lol
Fox is interested in sprucing up the place becauce he’s looking to be the next Speaker of the House. Scary thought don’t you think? Then again if we look at the horrendous job phony reformer Bill Murphy has done can Fox really be much worse? A very poor year for the RI General Assembly by any measure.

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