Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Last week, during the Senate meeting, there was a bill to give $600 to a conference that reached 4 people. CalSERVE was supporting it, but didn't have the votes to pass it. So they would vote against an attempt to fill in the blank to change the value, so that Student Action would be in a position where they either had to agree to the ridiculously high amount or kill the bill.
But it gets better. Roxanne Winston, of CalSERVE, is late in the alphabet, so she goes towards the end in a roll call. Which means by the time it rolled around to her, she knew if it was going to fail or not. The bill was going to fail, so she voted "No" on it so that she could be on the prevailing side and make a motion to reconsider. This time, they would allow an amendment to take place.
And then, the amendment to fill in the blank ended up with the number $600.
This time, a few more Student Action people voted for the bill, but not enough to pass it, so again Winston voted "No," and again she made a motion to reconsider. And the opponents let her do it again, for some reason.
So they tried again with the blank, and ended up with $400.
Meanwhile, the supporters, including Winston, insisted that since Student Action was okay with $400, $500 must be a compromise. And the sheep just followed along with it, because nobody had suggested $200 that day. So Gabe Weiner suggested $200. It's a really silly discussion, and I recommend you take a look at it some time. Meanwhile, I'll explain something about filling the blank:
The purpose of filling the blank is to find the highest allocation that will pass. This is the mechanism of the compromise. But filling in the blank with a value requires a majority vote, while passing the bill requires a 14 Senators, so the blank-filling mechanism fails even at this. And so we see the Winston "vote no then reconsider" approach to find the highest amount that will pass.
This is yet another thing I've pointed out to Senators in the past, and the sensible approach (requiring the 14 votes to approve a value to fill in the blank) has been used in previous Senates. But then we'd miss out on all this theater.
Anyway, $400 eventually passed ($100 a person), but if the Senate had a sensible procedure under which folks would accept the possibility of not getting their way, there would have been no need for the pathetic performance our future president gave.
Then another bill came up, funded at $900, when people wanted it at $700. And then they did the same thing again, approving $800. And so it failed. But wait! A motion to reconsider!!! Yes, it ended up at $700, anyway. (Since everyone was voting based on their ridiculous strategies, I couldn't figure out which side was which on this one.)
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