Lawmakers must behave
I recently engaged in the legislative process at the Vermont Statehouse following a bill during last session that was ultimately passed into law.
The experience was frustrating at times, but also empowering and enlightening. Based on that experience, I wanted to share a few points that might encourage a change in the way many legislators interact with the citizens they represent.
The most important request I would make of our representatives and senators is that when listening to testimony, or voting on a bill, please pay attention. It is hard to overstate how frustrating it is to watch a hearing involving an important and difficult policy issue when the legislators who make decisions about the issue are doing one or more of the following things (all of which I and others have witnessed on more than one occasion): passing notes, making jokes or small talk with the legislator next to them, filling out time cards, texting, surfing the Web and sending emails.
Am I old-fashioned, or is it hard to pay attention to the necessary issues that determine our laws while engaging in these other activities? As a parent, I would be embarrassed if my child behaved that way in her elementary school class. We should be able to expect better behavior from our legislators.
I am aware that our legislators are paid minimally for their countless hours of work and do appreciate this choice to serve.
WarrenMORE IN LettersThe following remarks were made by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Full Story
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