How Much Government Is Too Much Government?
Something about legislation requiring the Transportation Department to develop a plan for encouraging the use of recycled asphalt must have irked House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero on Wednesday.
Toward the end of Wednesday’s session, Cafero stood to oppose the bill, which passed unanimously out of the Transportation Committee and requires the DOT and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to come up with a plan for encouraging the use of recycled asphalt shingles to pave highways. According to the Office of Fiscal analysis, the bill has no fiscal impact.
“There’s that old saying, ‘There ought to be a bill.’ Well sometimes there ought not to be a bill,” he said on the floor of the House.
Cafero said the bill was an example of “why people don’t like us.” He said the bill makes executive agency heads meet to talk about and develop a plan, and gives them a deadline for submitting a report on the matter to a committee. He said the state is already trying to encourage the use of recycled asphalt.
“I don’t mean to pick on this bill but it’s just what’s wrong a lot of times with state government. What’s wrong with picking up the phone and saying ‘Hey, Fred, Sam, Betty, I guess we already do this recycled asphalt stuff? Let’s keep doing it.’ Do we really need to pass a law to encourage a plan to be submitted by a date to have a consultation and a meeting and a vote?” he asked.
Cafero railed on the bill for about two and half minutes before thanking House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and sitting down. After his speech, 19 lawmakers voted against the legislation.
The next bill the House raised would enable people charged with failing to clean snow or ice off their vehicle to pay the infraction by mail rather than being required to appear in court. Sharkey asked Cafero if he had anything to say on the legislation.
“I just want to say not all bills are a waste. There are some gems in here and this is one of them. I urge passage,” Cafero said.
Initially there was some laughter in the chamber when the House’s scoreboard lit up red as lawmakers cast votes against the second bill. After a few moments lawmakers flipped their votes to “yes” and the bill passed unanimously.