(Excellent editorial by State Rep Spec Bowers to the Concord Monitor. Copied from Spec’s Facebook page)
The Monitor’s April 5 editorial about House Speaker Bill O’Brien is one of the sillier ones of the last year and a half. It reminds me of the old legal adage, “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on your side, pound the table.”
The Democrats – with the Monitor following closely behind – have not had good arguments on their side for the last year and a half, so they have chosen to pound O’Brien.
Consider the House vote to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of our redistricting plan. Has anyone on the Monitor staff actually read the Constitution regarding veto overrides? Search from beginning to end, you will not find the word “calendar” in that document. There is no requirement in the Constitution to print anything at all in the calendar before holding a vote.
Does the Monitor think that the Senate also acted unconstitutionally in its override of the governor’s veto? That body similarly voted on the veto override without any printed notice in its calendar. Anyone who knows the least bit about the Senate knows that it is absurd to think that the Senate is under the thumb of the Speaker of the House. The Senate decided independently that it was completely legal to hold the override the same day as the House.
The Monitor accuses the speaker of limiting debate to 10 minutes per side. The Speaker has no such authority. Only the House as a whole can limit debate. We have done so on only a few occasions when we had an extraordinarily large number of bills to consider in a relatively short time. I doubt that we will again limit debate during the remainder of this year.
Lest anyone think that my Republican colleagues and I are mere lackeys of the speaker, take a look at how often we vote against our own leadership. We have overturned leadership recommendations more often than any previous House body.
This Legislature has passed a balanced budget, has cut taxes, has reduced regulations, has overhauled the education funding formula, and has reformed the state’s ailing pension system. And employment has steadily improved since voters put Republicans back in control of the Legislature. These are big accomplishments that Democrats cannot refute. So they try to change the subject and pound on the Speaker of the House.