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House Members Late 75% of Time in Past Month

Filed by Michael Cross in Feature, Local News, News, Politics.
April 19, 2013

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With nearly 100 bills and resolutions to be heard before the end of business on Thursday, not enough House members arrived on time.

This required a now familiar announcement from the presiding Speaker.

“A Quorum call has been requested…”

The Wednesday quorum call makes the 15th time in the last 19 legislative days.

Capitol reporter Peter J- Rudy is covering his seventh legislative session and says he can’t remember anything like this in the past.

Rudy remembers one day when the House was set to honor O-H-P spokesman Pete Norwood who had died of a heart attack the week prior.

He says the whole family was waiting and the House couldn’t get the required 51 members to show up.

“So they had to have a quorum call and so the family is there, and I just think that sends a horrible message that the press is here on time, there are people in the gallery who are here at 9:00 for a 9:00 start and lawmakers weren’t here to do that.”

Now, he does say in the past the House would usually throw up a non-controversial bill even before the Morning Prayer to give lawmakers time to get on the floor.

“I don’t know if they just weren’t following the strict letter of the rule back then and they are now and so we’re noticing it, but they also weren’t doing this the first two and a half months of session.”

So, I went to speak with Representative Joe Dorman who in his eleventh session is one of the senior Representatives in a term limited House.

Dorman also spent nearly ten years before hand in the House as a staff member.

He says tardiness comes and goes depending on the session start time, but admits having a quorum at the beginning of session only 25-percent of the time in the past month is a little disappointing.

“I will often check in from my office so they can make quorum and then go down once we start business, just trying to maximize my time as much as possible. But it’s been surprising to see so many sessions start as late as they have both in the morning and the afternoons.”

One thing to mention: The tone you are hearing in the background is roll call in the Senate.

Lawmakers in that chamber keep the Roll Call open until they have the required 26 members.

And, that historically has always takes between 15 and 20 minutes.

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