Newsletter Friday, January 6, 2023

Constitutional Conservatives Ayres & Wood represented our Chichester Pittsfield constituents on January 4th in Legislative Hall @the State House. The session’s main focus was the House Rules and amendments that would be in effect for the 2023 and 2024 legislation years. Rules can have an interesting way of changing the playing field by providing or eliminating advantages (at least in the minds of their sponsors). So maintaining our advantage for our ultra-slim majority was our mission. Four amendments are worthy of discussion.

House Rule 22 (Rep Wilhelm D): Amended would allow House Legislators to vote for an absent Legislator via Proxy Voting. This rule amendment was defeated 204 to 171. If I am “unable to attend a session due to medical condition, illness, or illness in the family,” I notify “the clerk with the name of the member casting the votes on my behalf.” We were against this bill since it was very difficult to understand how to preserve the integrity of the vote when the Legislator was absent. Also, the bill can be amended, or the vote outcome (pass, table, kill) can be changed on the floor. The absent Legislator would not know.

House Rule 31 (Rep Ebel D): Allowing virtual attendance to Committee meetings. This rule amendment was defeated 195 to 180. There was testimony that during the Covid emergency, this practice proved to be far from how the House should conduct its business, especially when holding public hearings. Before the committee discuss a bill, the session is open to public testimony that allows the public to have input on how they would like the committee to vote. We were against this bill.

House Rule 58 (Rep Dutzy D): Remove the word Prayer and replace it with Invocation. This rule amendment was defeated 190 to 183. A prayer is part of the opening of the legislative day. If someone would like an invocation, nothing is preventing that request. We voted against this bill.

House Rule 64 (Rep Wilhelm D): Concerning the carry or possession of any deadly weapon. The Legislator could be disciplined, arrested, or both if found to have a weapon. This change would not allow Legislators to carry weapons for self-defense, including concealed carry of a firearm. This rule amendment was defeated 197 to 177. The Supreme Court ruled in June 2022 that the second amendment protected the right to carry in public. We believe that a House rule does not take priority over a constitutional right and voted against this bill.

Cyril Aures and Clayton Wood