Palumbo’s Political Game with Immigration Reform Bill
Rep. Peter Palumbo (D-Cranston) gained some kudos from conservatives and immigration reform proponents for submitting an Arizona-like immigration bill. Palumbo further benefited amongst the same group when it was learned that his immigration bill wouldn’t get a hearing because House Speaker Gordon Fox killed the bill (something I commented on myself). In short, the perception was that Palumbo had tried to do the right thing on immigration but was foiled by the too-powerful Speaker of the House.
Turns out that wasn’t so much the case. Now Palumbo has stated (on WPRO) that he never sought a hearing and that, essentially, he submitted the bill for show because he was upset about the reaction to Arizona bill. So there was no hearing to kill because Palumbo admitted he never requested one. Knowing this, he still allowed people to get their agida up and rail against the system that allows one person (the Speakah!) to kill debate. That criticism is warranted in the abstract, but now, unfortunately, the proximate cause for this discussion and the planned protests turns out to have been nothing but a political ploy.
So let’s not martyr Palumbo. It’s clear he was playing games, which is something conservatives and other good government reformers should remember, and that he’s hardly an outsider. For lest we forget, it was Palumbo who indicated his approval of perpetual union contracts when he sponsored the legislation calling for the automatic extension of expired union contracts (teachers and firefighters) when negotiations had stalled. So, instead of hitching a wagon to a veteran player, maybe conservative and reformist folks should look to Palumbo’s 2010 RI Legislature opponent, Don Botts.