Tag Archives: House Government Operations Committee

Performative Lamentation on Reapportionment

The Vermont Legislature is in the middle of the reapportionment process, the redrawing of legislative districts that occurs every ten years. By the time you read this, the House Government Operations Committee may have given initial approval to a draft redistricting plan. It’s only the first step in a lengthy process, and nothing will be finalized for some time yet. But that hasn’t kept Republicans from whingeing about how majority Democrats are rigging the system to ensure another decade in power.

Sen. Corey Parent is out with an opinion piece calling the process “unnecessarily rushed” and “outrageous.” David Flemming of the Ethan Allen Institute notes that Vermont is at high risk of partisan gerrymandering. GovOps Committee Republicans reportedly favor a redistricting map that’s being sidelined by majority Dems.

And you know what? I don’t want to hear it from any Republican. The GOP is the reigning champion of the gerrymandering game. Vermont Democrats are not going to do anything nearly as perfidious as the legislatures in, say Ohio or Texas or Florida. The only reason Vermont Republicans are complaining is that they’re in the minority. If they were in power, they’d throw principle out the window in service of protecting their advantage.

Besides, the courts have approved all but the most extreme gerrymandering. It’s officially fair game, right? Well, only if you’re the victim, not the perpetrator.

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Special Delivery

Now, I’m not saying the House Democrats are ready to deliver a flaming bag of poo regarding public sector pensions. It’s just that all the signs point in that direction.The teachers’ and state employees’ unions should take care with any packages they find on the doorstep.

Because, apparently, the behind-closed-doors work has just about wrapped up. And suddenly, the House Government Operations Committee’s schedule is packed with pension-related hearings — leading up to the oft-promised public hearing on the as-yet-unreleased plan at the Traditional Newsdump Hour of Friday afternoon.

You know how rare it is for the Legislature to do anything substantive after 4:00 pm on a Friday? The only time it usually happens is during the last-ditch rush to adjournment.

And now, with a mere three days’ notice, the House Dems have scheduled a public hearing from 4:00 to 6:00 Friday. On a proposal that, as I might have already noted, hasn’t been made public as of this writing.

Friday’s dog-and-pony-show hearing will feature a parade of speakers who will each get three minutes to say their piece. Up to, presumably, the 120-minute time limit. That means, let me see, a total of 40 speaking slots. Forty! On an issue that touches the retirement security of thousands of Vermonters! You can register here; I suggest you do it fast.

It’s possible that the Dems have crafted a pension reform plan acceptable to all parties. But every sign points in the opposite direction. Secrecy? Check. Sudden effusion of hearings? Check. Little notice before a public hearing? Check. Public hearing scheduled for the Friday afternoon dead zone?

Check and double-check.

Did I mention there’s no actual bill yet? At least not one that’s publicly available.

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