Test-Driving the General Assembly’s New Instant Vote-Reporting System, and Discussing the Vote for Senate President
The Rhode Island Senate’s first vote of the 2011 session was to select its President. Senator Teresa Paiva-Weed of Newport/Jamestown won by a vote of 33-5. (Vote reported courtesy of the Rhode Island legislature’s new instant vote-reporting system).
Senator Marc Cote of Woonsocket/North Smithfield was one of the five Seantors — and the only Democrat — who did not cast their votes for Sen. Paiva-Weed. Senator Cote, you may recall, was the primary Senate sponsor of the the E-verify bill in the last session; he had consulted with President Paiva-Weed and the Majority Leader about bringing the bill to the floor, only to have had them table the bill without discussion and, even more egregiously, without an accurate count of whether a majority of Senators supported the bill or not. Senator Cote deserves credit for being the lone Democrat unwilling to contribute to an illusion of collegiality in a body whose current leader has conclusively demonstrated through her actions that collegiality does not exist.
The four Republicans who did not vote for Senator Paiva-Weed were Senator Frank Maher of Charlestown/Exeter/Hopkinton/Richmond/West Greenwich, and freshmen Senators Beth Moura of Cumberland/Lincoln, Glen Shibley of Coventry/East Greenwich/Warwick/West Warwick, and Dawson Hodgson of East Greenwich/North Kingstown/Warwick, perhaps providing us with an early indication of who the stalwarts in the new Senate session will be — though I will also make note of the fact that one Republican who voted for Senator Paiva-Weed, Senator David Bates of Barrington/Bristol, responded to a question asked during the campaign about Governor Chafee’s proposed sales tax increase by saying that…
There is no way in hell that I would support Chafee’s tax increase,…which was roughly the same way that Senators Maher, Hodgson, and Moura responded, suggesting that it is premature to infer that the leadership vote will be a predictor of major policy votes.