Dem Dominated State House AWOL Despite Perilous Times & Crucial Issues

Seven weeks into the legislative session, facing an economic crisis of historic proportions and public confidence eroded by a series of scandals and ethics controversies, the Legislature remains at a virtual standstill.

Ethics law changes? No action scheduled for at least another month, perhaps not until April. Budgets, including emergency provisions sought by Governor Deval Patrick in response to the recession? Not even a hearing, despite Patrick’s calls for quick action.

Since Jan. 7, the start of the legislative session, the House has met 19 times, for a total of 18 hours, 47 minutes, an average of less than 3 hours per week, according to a Globe analysis of minutes kept by the State House News Service. Of that, nearly 7 hours were for ceremonial events where no actual work took place, honoring Abraham Lincoln, listening to the governor’s State of the State address, and being sworn into office.

The longest meeting was on Feb. 11, when representatives met for nearly six hours to debate rules. They still found time to adopt resolutions honoring Ronald Reagan and Red Sox legend Jim Rice. Last week, the House welcomed the mayor of Haifa, Israel.

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About Brock N. Cordeiro