Speaker insists Vermont Legislature will go home May 7

first_imgAnne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.org by Anne Galloway, www.vtdigger.org(link is external) April 27, 2011 Spring is in the air, and the internal atmosphere of the Golden Bubble is a little odd at the moment. Lawmakers have finished their hardest exams (the budget, tax and health care bills), but they still have all these assignments left that must be finished in order to avoid getting an incomplete. That doesn’t mean there won’t be changes made to bills in conference or that there won’t be differences of opinion over legislation that is still in motion on the House and Senate sides over the next 10 days.But, Smith said, ‘I don’t think we’ve seen the bill that could blow up.’The bills still in the hopper most likely to launch a volley once they’re in play: telecomm, energy, recidivism and the jobs bill. Several issues attached to those bills, namely a retroactive current use penalty reversal for a logging violation by the national corporation Plum Creek, and the governor’s plan to fund the Clean Energy Development Fund using a grant program instead of a tax credit could be trouble.Smith says it all comes down to timing. He’d like to get the energy and jobs bills out, but he seemed to indicate there could be a few incompletes in the offing. ‘Time is getting short,’ Smith said. ‘Energy is currently on the list. I hope it will pass.’There are still a number of items to check off the list, including the medical marijuana dispensaries bill (passed by the Senate, passed out of House Human Services on Tuesday, 8-2), the public records bill (expected to come out of Senate Government Operations today), the open meeting bill (passed by the Senate, now in the House), the palliative care bill (passed by the House, now in the Senate), and the childcare worker unionization bill. The latter, which Smith supports, is expected out of committee next Monday, whether it will meet muster before adjournment is an open question.Smith said he will ask lawmakers in the House to come in on Monday, which they typically have off, in order to make the May 7 deadline.Them’s the rulesThe House GOP, is small (48 members) and consequently unable to turn bills, but at the beginning of the session, Rep. Don Turner, R-Milton, minority leader, and Rep. Patti Komline, R-Dorset, assistant minority leader, made two demands of the Democratic leadership that have had lasting impact. One was a requirement that every bill come with a ‘fiscal note,’ a rundown of any budgetary impacts a piece of legislation might have from the Vermont Joint Fiscal Office.The second is a 24-hour rule for all legislation that comes to the floor. By rule, that’s the standard time in which legislation must be presented to members. Typically, though, as is the case in the Senate, rules are suspended in the interest of expediency. Turner has said members need a full day to read bills before they come to a vote.The House GOP has said, in no uncertain terms, that it will not allow the House Democratic leadership to suspend the rules to rush bills through the same day. Period. And, because the House needs a three-quarters majority to do so, it can’t move to suspend without GOP votes.A case in point? The health care reform bill, H.202, which was held up today because the House GOP wouldn’t suspend the rules to allow the bill to go to conference committee.House Speaker Shap Smith said his schedule has built-in the 24-hour rule in place.Turner is unshakable on this score. If it gets late in the session, and rule suspensions are called for to meet the May 7 deadline for adjournment, too bad. They remain immutable. ‘The Speaker controls the schedule,’ Turner said. ‘If bills sat in committee for three to four months we get blamed ‘ then we hear you didn’t suspend the rules, so it’s your fault.’Both the House and the Senate have named ‘conferees,’ or the representatives for conference committee.Another sticking point between the Speaker and the minority party is likely to be the appointees for the health care conference committee. Turner wants to make sure there is a GOPer in the mix, and he seems to think the Speaker won’t name a Republican on the committee. (Smith has yet to name the members.)Turner is ready to invoke the Mason’s legislative manual and call for a point of order if the Speaker makes that omission.Is the Speaker required to name a member of the minority party on conference committees? No, according to Smith. Will he name a Republican to the committee? ‘Someone from their team should have voted for the bill,’ is his ready response. Mason’s rules are trumped by the practice of the House, and in practice, lawmakers from the minority party who voted for the bill are appointed. Problem is, not a single member of the House GOP cast a yea for H.202. Smith said to expect a skirmish over that one.Turner points to an exception in 2009 when Rep. John Morley was named to the budget conference, even though he voted against it. Smith said he broke with practice that one time because he needed someone on the committee who could communicate directly with the administration ‘ the year the House overrode the budget over Republican Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto.Here’s a list of the conferees for the money bills.AppropriationsHouse: Heath, Johnson, Acinapura (R)Senate: Kitchel, Sears, Snelling (R)Miscellaneous taxHouse: Ancel, Branagan (R), SharpeSenate: Cummings, MacDonald, Ashe (P/D)Capital construction billHouse: Emmons, Myers (R), HooperSenate: Harwell, Mazza, Benning (R) last_img read more

Lakers snap losing streak with narrow win over Celtics

first_imgIn a game that featured seven ties and eight lead changes, the finish fueled a heated rivalry that once rested on championships.With the Lakers nursing a 105-104 lead with 18.3 seconds left, forward Wesley Johnson drew a swarm of Boston defenders that forced a jump ball. Much to the dismay of Boston, officials determined the replays showed the ball equally bouncing off the finger tips of Johnson and Gerald Wallace.“I said it was for us so you have to have evidence to overturn that,” D’Antoni recalled telling the officials. “So I just asked, ‘Where’s the evidence?” There’s no evidence if you can’t see what happened.”Johnson then won on the second jump ball attempt.“Once they told me to jump it again,” Johnson said, “I knew I was going to get it.” BOSTON — Amid the persisting losses, endless injuries and bleak playoff fortunes, the Lakers can at least pinpoint this accomplishment during the 2013-14 season on their resume.The Lakers beat the Celtics. The cast of characters didn’t feature Hall of Famers. The implications hardly provided an NBA Finals preview. But the Lakers’ 107-104 victory Friday over Boston at TD Garden snapped a six-game losing streak and suddenly gave a team losing 12 of its past 14 games renewed confidence. “It’s a big rivalry and we experienced so much against them,” said Pau Gasol, who posted 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting, 13 rebounds and six assists. “Even though the teams have changed quite a bit, it’s still great to come in and beat this team here. With the losing streak we had going on, it’s more meaningful.” Lakers rookie forward Ryan Kelly then grabbed the ball and nailed two free throws that both secured the win and polished off a career-high 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting. In his first appearance since rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the past year, Boston All-Star guard Rajon Rondo then missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer before time expired. He finished with eight points on 4-of-9 shooting and four assists in 19 minutes.“I’m confident in my game,” Kelly said. “I’ve been working my butt off with our coaching staff and putting in the extra time. I’m growing every game I step on the floor.”So did Kendall Marshall, whose 19-point effort included a 3-pointer that put the Lakers up 105-104 with 1:09 left. Marshall’s play coincided with his apology earlier Friday toward Nick Young, who served a one-game suspension for committing a “punching foul” on Suns guard Goran Dragic in Wednesday’s loss Phoenix. Young called out his teammates for not helping him in an altercation.“It got to the point where we have to put our foot down,” Marshall said. “We’d like to have Nick with us, but he lit a fire in us and he got us going.” The Lakers (15-25) believe such a mindset secured a win against the hated Celtics (14-27) despite several variables. Long-term injuries to the Lakers’ backcourt. Manny Harris posting seven points on 2-of-7 shooting in his first game since dominating the Development League earlier this week. The Lakers’ 19 turnovers. Boston rookie Kelly Olynyk posting a career-high 29 points. But the Lakers won the rebounding battle, 46-44. The Lakers held Boston scoreless for the last three minutes. The effort presumably put injured star Kobe Bryant in a better mood.“It’s been very difficult and very frustrating. I try to detach from it as much as possible. I feel like Bruce Banner and putting him in the middle of a bar fight and hope he doesn’t become the Hulk,” Bryant said, referring to the popular comic book series. This time, the Lakers felt much different.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more