Saturday, September 08, 2007

Oleszek Proposes State Senate Rules Change

Debate to be Banned under Plan

Hat tip: Greg

Democrat Janet Oleszek, who is challenging Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-37) in this year’s State Senate race, has promised that, if elected, she would propose a major revamping of Senate debate rules. Oleszek said that the “current system is arcane and does not keep up with 21st century technology.” Under her plan, extemporaneous debate would be banned. Instead, Senators would be required to submit all questions and arguments to a special web site.

Oleszek continued: “Since high school graduation rates in Fairfax County have been dropping under my leadership, it is only appropriate that Senators be given more time to look up difficult concepts such as transportation or immigration before trying to make an argument. I predict that the lasting mark I have left on the Fairfax County School system is just one reason why the Senate needs to change its rules, and soon.

In a possible hint at compromise, Oleszek said that she would allow “limited use of preprinted cue cards” and to allow increased hiring of staff to hold the flash cards for Senators. While she supports the efforts of Northern Virginia Democrats such as Minority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-35) to keep their jurisdictions from receiving a fair share of education funding, Oleszek stated that increasing the number of “highly trained” Senate staffers to perform this work would help mitigate this circumstance. She also said that she would give preference to non-citizens to perform such work because “it would teach civics that they otherwise do not learn. In fact, I would not even ask if such people were here in the United States legally, and certainly not make them say the Pledge of Allegiance.”