It isn’t surprising that the DFL wants to limit debate in the Minnesota House of Representatives. When they’re in charge, that’s what they’ve traditionally done. This time, Erin Murphy is the DFL legislator that’s proposing to limiting debate under the guise of transparency:
Democrats in the Minnesota House are proposing to change how the House operates during floor debates.
The plan would require proposed amendments to be filed 24 hours before the debate on a bill starts. It’s a dramatic departure from current rules that allow members to draft and propose changes to legislation as members are debating it.
House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, said she’s making the change to give lawmakers and the public more time to consider proposed changes to legislation.
What’s worst is that Rep. Murphy is lying to justify her proposal:
“The floor debate is where Minnesotans have the least amount of access,” Murphy said. “When amendments are being drafted on the floor and then debated on the floor, it’s hard for representatives to be able to talk to constituents and get answers to questions as to what it means.”
In a pre-Twitter, pre-social media, pre-texting world, Rep. Murphy might’ve had a point. She isn’t right anymore. Citizens have multiple points of access to legislators during floor debates, with Twitter being the most popular. Texting likely comes in a close second.
Most likely, she’s just doing the best she can to BS herself through a terrible predicament. Rep. Murphy can’t admit that it’s never been easier for constituents to contact their representatives during a floor debate. Rep. Murphy can’t admit that livestreaming the floor debate makes it possible to watch the debate, either. Rep. Murphy can’t admit that constituents can read bills thanks to the House of Representatives’ website.
If she admitted that, Rep. Murphy and the DFL would have to admit that their real goal is to limit debate to limit their exposure to common sense amendments that would improve their legislation. The worst part about a truly open amendment process for the DFL -is that it would force DFL legislators to cast votes against amendments that their constituents would want them voting for.
That, in turn, would put already vulnerable DFL legislators in greater jeopardy of losing in 2014. Unfortunately for the DFL, the DFL can’t protect their representatives from their agenda of higher taxes, more wasteful spending and greater intrusions into people’s lives.