Daily Archives: May 14, 2015

It’s good to have a staff of tame lawyers on call

The Legislature continues to careen toward adjournment, the desire to skip town augmented by the looming specter of Norm McAllister, who officially refused to resign today.

One event worth noting from today’s action: the Senate Natural Resources Committee held a closed-door meeting in the office of Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell. Reporters were refused admittance. Later, the Legislative Council duly produced a memo validating the unusual move:

It is the opinion of the Office of Legislative Council that the General Assembly is not subject to the requirements of the Open Meetings Law.

If true, this is quite shameful, and ought to be rectified by… ahem… the General Assembly ASAP. But I have a feeling it’s a convenient fiction. For one thing, if Legislative committees could go into closed-door session whenever they wanted to, they’d do it all the damn time.

For another, this is a substantially broader claim than was made last year, when Seven Days’ Paul Heintz was denied access to a meeting of the Committee on Committees.

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Shumlin amps up the rhetoric

This is the kind of thing that inspires Harlan Sylvester conspiracy theories.

The narrative goes like this: Sometime back in 2009, Peter Shumlin tells “the most powerful man in Vermont politics” (h/t Shay Totten) he’ll keep a lid on taxes if Harlan paves his path to the corner office.

I can tell you lies, you can't get enough.

I can tell you lies, you can’t get enough.

It’s one explanation for the volume and desperation of Shumlin’s anti-tax rhetoric — aimed, need I remind you, at fellow Democrats.

Yesterday, the Governor slammed a House-passed plan to cap itemized deductions. And to put it plainly, he lied about it.

Ell. Eye. Eee. Dee. Lied.

“Removing charitable deductions, the ability of Vermonters to deduct home interest from their mortgages, which promotes home buying, and removing the health care deduction when you’ve had catastrophic health care costs is a big mistake,” Shumlin says.

Now, that’s bullshit. Ain’t nobody “removing” nothing, and the Governor knows it.

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How can I miss you when you won’t go away?

(h/t to Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks)

Please allow me a brief gloat, a hearty chuckle, a moment of schadenfreude. Because this is just too f’n funny.

Sen. Norm McAllister (R-Franklin) is reconsidering his decision to resign from the Vermont Senate, according to a close ally.

“I don’t know what made him rethink it, but he has decided — he’s rethinking it is all I can say,” Sen. Peg Flory (R-Rutland) said Wednesday afternoon.

Heh, heh, heh, heh.

Here’s my message to Good Ol’ Norm: hang on for dear life. Make ’em drag you out kicking and screaming. Not because you deserve to keep your seat, hell no; but because your fellow Republicans (and really, the Dems as well) so desperately want to be rid of this entire affair.

I say, let ’em stew. They don’t deserve to get off this easy. Not when there are numerous second-hand stories about how ol’ Norm was a horndog at best, and maybe worse, to his female colleagues. Not when there are still serious questions to answer about what leadership knew, when they knew it, and what they did about it. (And if they really didn’t know, how loudly were they singing LALALALALA with their fingers in their ears?)

Not when there remains a distinct odor of clubby sexism around the Statehouse that needs to be dissipated once and for all.

Indeed, here’s my plea to the women of the Statehouse, past and present. If you had unpleasant encounters with McAllister, now is the time to step forward. So far, the only woman to do so is an ex-lawmaker. If some misbegotten sense of loyalty to the institution is keeping you silent, please speak up. You owe it to the truth, and to the women who will follow your footsteps.

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