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Sunday, June 06, 2004

Socializing at the Capitol

Today there is more sober reflection on drinking and socializing at the Capitol (see here). In a nutshell, many legislators lament the decline in after-hours socializing that used to bring people together across party lines. As a result, legislators are less likely to know each other, and it is harder to get anything accomplished.

I have often been regaled by tales of how things were in the "good old days," back in the 1980s when legislators and lobbyists were allowed to have a good time. There has definitely been a change, brought on by the gift ban, scandals, and a legislature that is no longer just made up of members of the good old boys' club. While there is probably no need to go back to the days of legislators dancing on tables, perhaps something has been lost.

Part of the blame has been put on the gift ban, but that's inaccurate. Legislators can socialize without lobbyists picking up the tab. I think there are still far too few restrictions put on lobbying, so in my opinion relaxing the gift ban isn't the way to go. Lori Sturdevant suggests that maybe the party caucuses should host get-togethers. This is certainly an idea. Another idea, long my personal favourite, would be to dispense with conference committees and compromise through the art of Ultimate Frisbee games. Nothing like legislating by disc. Deciding things by a game of frisbee would also be far easier for the public to understand and follow than arcane legislative committee meetings!


At 1:01 AM, June 07, 2004, Blogger Khatiya said...

open up a bottle, let's decide on the fate of the world...


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