Daily Archives: May 21, 2015

Things I learned at the Statehouse (or, My First Listicle!)

I’ve been blogging about Vermont politics for almost three and a half years (first at Green Mountain Daily and then here), but this was the first year I spent considerable time observing the Legislature at work. In previous years, I’d dropped in here and there, but I became an irregular regular this time around.

In addition to following the fates of particular bills, I also took away some overall lessons. Many of them actually positive. And here they are, in no particular order.

Our lawmakers work pretty hard. They get paid a pittance, and spend lots and lots of hours under the Dome. Seemingly endless hearings and debates, having to actually read and understand legislation: I wouldn’t have the patience for it. And their attendance record is shockingly good. Many of them have real jobs and/or travel long distances to Montpelier; on any given day, almost all of them are there.

— There’s always plenty of partisan rhetoric flying around, but people who disagree on the issues work surprisingly well together. This is especially true in committees, where a small group of folks work collaboratively, and cooperatively. It’s not all peaches and cream, but there were times when I was watching a committee debate and it was hard to tell which lawmaker came from which party.

Not that they were selling out; just that they were more interested in getting stuff done than in scoring political points.

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Kremlinology II: Back from Siberia

I’m sure this is juuuuuuuuuust a coincidence.

Three days ago, I wrote a piece about Attorney General Bill Sorrell’s conspicuous absence from a pair of recent gubernatorial photo-ops. Both times, the theme was related to law and justice; both times, our Eternal General was nowhere to be seen while Chittenden County State’s Attorney (and former Sorrell challenger) TJ Donovan was in prime photo-op position, directly behind the Governor’s shoulder.

Well, today brought another law-related bill signing… and guess who was back, baby?

ShumlinSorrell

Yep, there’s Bill Sorrell. Along with, so I’ve been told, many members of his staff, gathered closely around the Governor. And no sign of Donovan.

I smell overcompensation.

Do I dare take some credit for this? The timing certainly suggests I can.