RI Senate Discovers Secret of Time Compression
Christine Lopes of Common Cause Rhode Island had an op-ed in today’s ProJo detailing the hurdles, hell, “rhode blocks” that RI citizens encounter when trying to find out various bits of info related to state boards. She takes both the Governor and Legislature to task, and explains that CC uncovered this interesting bit of Senatorial calendar-keeping:
We discovered something interesting about how the Senate records its activities. State law provides that if the Senate does not act on a gubernatorial appointment within 60 legislative days, the appointment will take effect as if confirmed. A typical session lasts about 60 legislative days. However, the Senate routinely “bundles” multiple meeting days into one official journal, which is then counted as a single legislative day.
In 2005, 16 days the Senate actually met were reduced to six legislative days. In 2007, four days the Senate met were reduced to two legislative days. The stratagem has been used once so far in 2008. This practice postpones the deadline when an appointment would automatically take effect, thus allowing the Senate to “stall” an appointment past the end of the session in which it was made.
Artificially reducing legislative days in this manner creates the strong impression that the Senate is playing games with the statutory deadlines governing its advice-and-consent responsibilities.
Ya think? The entire report, “Democracy Deferred II,” can be found here.