This one’s being referred to the House Committee on Goofy Shit.
Tomorrow may be April Fools Day, but one of our lovable, huggable freshman lawmakers chose today to introduce the early front-runner for Dumbest Bill of the Year.
The sponsor is Republican Job Tate of Mendon, he who sent gasps through the House chamber last week when he proposed cutting lawmakers’ already minuscule pay. His new brainchild is H.495. It’s very simple, about a half page long. It’s the very first bill on which he is the one and only sponsor — his first big idea. And what would it do?
It would shift the Legislature from a Tuesday-Friday schedule for four months, to a Saturday-Sunday schedule for eight months.
Let that sink in for a moment. The Legislature meets on weekends exclusively for eight months every year.
The intent, I guess, is to make serving in the Legislature more accessible to those with full-time jobs. And on behalf of working men and women across Vermont, let me just say “Bwahahahahaha.”
Are you kidding me? Do you think anyone with a full-time job would want to devote their weekends for eight solid months to working under the golden dome? As one observer noted, “The divorce rate would skyrocket.”
Not to mention that everyone who has dealings with the Legislature, including numerous state employees, would have their choice of working seven days a week when the Leg is in session, working five-day weeks including Saturday and Sunday and taking two weekdays off, or working weekdays and being constantly on call for legislature-related obligations every weekend.
Lobbyists, who constantly prowl the corridors of power, would be royally screwed. But ehhhh, they’re lobbyists. (How does that joke go, “What do you call a hundred lobbyists buried up to their necks in sand?”)
Okay, of course this bill is going nowhere. But why introduce it in the first place? How did Mr. Tate seize upon this as his inaugural voyage into the waters of lawmaking?
Job Tate is not a fool. He was a Navy Seabee and remains in the reserves. According to his legislative bio, he was…
…a heavy equipment operator, explosives expert, squad leader, and combat warfare specialist who has worked with teams to build vital infrastructure in some of the world’s most challenging conditions.
That takes some brain power and the ability to correctly deploy it. But stuff like H.495, he should know, is a good way to get yourself typed as the Clown Prince of the House.