Assembly Can’t Have It Both Ways
Monique’s post today about her attempt to get in touch with State Rep Charlene Lima via email made me think that it’s pretty interesting that Reps and Senators don’t want to be bothered by non-constituents. Last June, Jim Hummel came to the same conclusion, with Rep. Lima again the poster child for this type of (lack of) response.
They’ll claim to be too busy, too overwhelmed with email to have time to read it all from everyone. They get email from non-constituents from other districts in Rhode Island and they also claim they get email from people from out of state. They really only have time to respond to and interact with their own constituents. After all, that’s who they’re representing, right? Those are the people that the Assembly member spends their time up on Smith Hill to represent.
I have to say “hang on a moment” here. That’s not exactly true. If you have a severe case of insomnia some time, or you’re just a big time nerd like me, try randomly reading through State House bills. Pay special attention to those that affect either one town, a couple of towns or even just specific institutions. Shouldn’t the Assembly member who is representing those issues be the one who submits bill for those specific areas?
Want an example? Remember back in 2008 when the Assembly passed a law allowing both Twin River and Newport Grand to stay open 24 hours a day? Who sponsored that bill in the Senate? Was it a Senator from Lincoln or Newport? No. It was Paul Moura, then a Senator for East Providence. East Providence?!? What does he have to do with Twin River or Newport Grand?
This isn’t the only time this has happened. If you read through the bills, you’ll see it happens quite frequently, actually. I have no definite reason as to why.
The Assembly members want to submit legislation that affects people in a certain part of the state that they don’t represent, however based on Jim Hummel and Monique’s experiences, these Assembly members don’t want to respond or even read email from people that their legislation affects. It would seem to me that if you’re going to submit a bill that affects certain people in this state, you should at least be willing to accept contact from them. It’s just good government. Which is yet again, something Rhode Island needs a lot more of.