Statehouse Beat: Hanshaw’s first term as speaker leaves much to be desired

Statehouse Beat: Hanshaw's first term as speaker leaves much to be desired

Quotes of the week, part one: “He was elected by the ‘C’ and ‘D’ students. Now he has to deal with the ‘A” and ‘B’ students.” — a longtime statehouse observer far wiser than I, commenting on Roger Hanshaw ’s horrific freshman outing as House speaker. Although Hanshaw’s tenure started with great promise — floor sessions that began precisely at 11 a.m., a no-nonsense approach that eliminated time-wasters like citation presentations and singing “Happy Birthday” to members on the House floor, and his precise grasp of parliamentary procedure — it quickly became clear his skills as a cat-herder are marginal. Most recently, there were not one, but two bills discharged from committee by a House vote on the same day. In the past, one could go through an entire legislative career and never see a bill discharged. There was the dead-then-alive-again-through-procedural-sleight-of-hand fiasco on the campus carry bill — a bill on which Hanshaw has expressed personal misgivings, but presumably one he could not squelch without having delegates discharge a third bill from committee on his watch. It certainly seems to defy his call in his acceptance speech as speaker on Jan. 9, in which he said, “It’s our objective, it’s our mandate from our friends, our family and our neighbors to make West Virginia the best place in America that we can make it to live, work and raise a family.” While every session gets chippy at the end, the level of sniping and infighting among House leaders, and […]

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