Lucian Geise may want to update his resume. It’s come to that.
The gross abuse of the fiscal note process to kill legislation opposed by the leadership and the administration, has created a bitter animosity towards the process itself, especially in this session. Instead of its original intent as a tool to assist fiscal responsibility, the fiscal note has instead morphed into a blunt weapon to subvert representative government.
House Finance Committee. Regular Calendar.
“I see he had a fiscal note attached….”
This has been going on for some time. For example, leadership used highly dubious fiscal notes earlier this session in an attempt to kill anti-Common Core bills, among others. But now the governor has taken the abuse to a whole new Machiavellian level
After the state senate passed an open carry gun bill 25-2 last week without any fiscal note attached, Gov. Bill (“I was against guns before I was for them”) Haslam swung into action. Using his Department of Safety as his enforcer — the apparent “go to” department for the governor’s retribution politics (See “Thug Politics at the Dept. of Safety?” 4-8-2014), a $100,000 fiscal note magically appeared just in time to send the bill to the House Finance Committee where it was expected to die. Rep. Michael Van Huss will make a long-shot attempt to go around the committee process to force a vote on the house floor. Good luck, it will take 2/3 of the members to do that.
House Caucus Chair, Glen Casada, is fond of roaming the halls of LP admonishing members to “honor the committee system.” Question for Glen: Just how do you honor a system that has no honor?
Incredibly, instead of listening to the growing outrage over the abuse of fiscal notes to subvert the will of the legislature, in a spasm of political chutzpah earlier this session, leadership trotted out Rep. Mark White (who led the fight to abuse the process in order to kill anti-Common core legislation) to try and pass a bill that would allow not putting a fiscal note on a new bill until after the bill was calendared. That could mean a legislator could work his bill for weeks, before being slapped with a fiscal note just before it came to a vote in committee. Fortunately, conservatives (and others) saw through this sham and slapped down the bill on the house floor.
The Governor and leadership had better be damn careful. The more they try to use sleazy tactics like fiscal note abuse to squelch the voice of the people’s representatives, the more likely that same voice will someday bite them on the ass.