By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings
While the Founding Fathers may have placed the First Amendment to the US Constitution first, it's one of the Rs least favorites, at least based on their behavior Monday.
– In the House Ways and Means Committee meeting, committee chair Jack Harper (R-Surprise!) refused to allow a representative from the Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) to speak on a bill that would micromanage MIHS' procurement procedures.
From Mary Jo Pitzl, writing for the Arizona Republic –
In a public hearing, not all are equal . . . or heard … at least not in Rep. Jack Harper's Ways and Means Committee.
Harper refused to let a lobbyist for the Maricopa Integrated Health System speak Monday on House Bill 2207. The bill would require MIHS to use "competitive procurement rules" or adopt those used by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors when it comes to buying equipment and certain services.
It was the third time the bill has been before the committee, but a strike-everything amendment changed its direction from an earlier version. MIHS lobbyist John McDonald asked to testify, but Harper refused, saying nothing was served by "having a lobbyist here to speak against the taxpayer week in and week out."
– And across the Capitol quad in the Senate building, Sen. Ron Gould was running the Senate Judiciary meeting with a tool that was less "gavel" and more "sledge hammer."
He gavelled down applause, barked at a photographer for disrupting "his" (Gould's) meeting and interrupted and challenged any speaker who said something he didn't agree with. In fact, the only public speakers that I saw him act courteously toward were John Eastman (speaking on the anti-14th Amendment bills) and John Wentling (speaking in favor of the "firearms omnibus" bill).
Both were there to support Gould's position on the bills. Probably not a coincidence, that.
The video archives of the meetings (2/7/2011) can be found here. Note: the audio quality of the Ways and Means hearing is poor, constantly fading in and out.