I think they call this “inexpedient to legislate”

In the words of Charlie Pierce, Here’s Some Stupid For Lunch. VTDigger: 

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday tabled a bill that would increase the scope of the state’s criminal DNA collection because of a backlog in processing existing samples.

The decision came after Dr. Trisha Conti, director of the Vermont Forensics Laboratory, told lawmakers that the lab has approximately 2,500 samples waiting to be processed and added to the state database.

Yeah, well, hmm. It begs the question, why didn’t anyone check with the Lab before proposing the expansion?

It doesn’t speak well of our government’s internal communication skills, does it?

A law passed in 2008 mandates DNA testing for every convicted felon in Vermont; the proposed bill would have included anyone convicted of a misdemeanor that could have led to jail time. That would have generated several thousand more DNA samples to the workload.

The backlog came about because the state lab has only one analyst doing the work, and she’s been on maternity leave. And if you think that’s funny, get a load of this:

At the time the [2008] law passed, funding was designated for two chemist positions. A chemist already employed by the lab, whose federally funded position was set to expire, filled one position. The other position was not filled.

Hahahaha. So the legislature expanded DNA testing and budgeted money for the necessary staff, and the administration never spent it. Well, two administrations: Douglas and Shumlin. Yeah, funny.

Paco Aumand, deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, added that they’ve had a hard time “finding qualified people to take these scientific jobs at compensation that the state of Vermont is paying.”

So we pass a law to protect ourselves from repeat offenders, and then we don’t come up with the money to actually follow through. Wonderful.

Oh, and in case you even had to ask: Governor Shumlin’s 2016 budget doesn’t include funding for a second lab tech. Of course it doesn’t.


1 thought on “I think they call this “inexpedient to legislate”

  1. chuck gregory

    This is, I think, a little bit of fallout from the Douglas era’s “efficient government” campaign– go for “revenue-neutral” tax changes, wind up with a government unable to pay competitive wages and more than willing to stiff state workers who (certainly in the case of Hurricane Irene communications) go way beyond the call of duty, and then expect to handle necessary changes smoothly.n And of course the Shumlin administration follows blindly along the same path.

    Government cannot be “efficient” the way businesses are. Businesses generally make 80% of their profit from 20% of their customers. Government cannot operate for only 20% of the people, and government expenditures cannot be based upon an illusion of “efficiency.”


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