Saturday, May 17, 2008

Legislators Not Voting

Perhaps they just can't make up their minds, perhaps they don't want to vote against their leadership or the Governor, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. We elect them to vote & make the hard decisions, even if we don't agree.

Thursday the State House of Reps voted on a bill to expunge some criminal records in which a deferred sentence was received. I'm not going to go over its merits, just the resulting vote. The guv, the state police, & the att'y gen'l were all against. The bill brought up some heated debate.

"I mean, as much as I like redemtion, Mr. Speaker, I also have a belief in the freedom of information and a knowledge of history, " argued House Minority Leader Robert A. Watson, R-East Greenwich... "My God, I am not going to do that today. I never will be that irresponsible with my vote. Ever."

So one would assume he voted against the bill. One would be wrong. He voted not at all (he was absent). Neither did Rep. Loughlin (R-Tiverton) nor Rep. Amaral (R-Tiverton & P'mouth). Local legislators voting against it were Rice, (P'mouth & Midd), Long (Jamestown & Midd.), & Coaty (Npt.). Rep. Amaral was also absent. Local supporters were Jackson (Npt. & Midd.) & Gallison (Bristol & P'mouth). Rep. Loughlin asked the lege journal to reflect that if he had voted, it would have been in the negative (closest thing to a mulligan the Lege offers).

The bill now heads to the Senate. BTW, I've said this before- tracking legislators votes is almost impossible. You have to head directly for the legislative journal for the day the bill was voted on. One also can't assume a legislator voted just because they were there. Each vote needs to be checked. Not apple pie easy. Many times the journals (esp. the Senate) can take awhile to post. The "Newport Daily News" no longer provides even weekly coverage of what our legislators are doing. I guess because it just doesn't matter.

Or does it?

Thanks to Projo reporter Katherine Gregg for the heads-up.
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