Just Doing My Job

A Fool In NH Column Heading

One of the more important things a governor does, besides attend luncheons and dinners, is to sign or veto bills that they don’t read once they land on the governor’s desk from the House and Senate.
The reason governors don’t read the bills they sign or veto is because they have already made up their mind about it long before they ever really see it so there is no need to read it since they really don’t have the time anyway since there is an important luncheon or dinner to get to.
Sometimes, if it is really an important bill, like making the fork the official state eating utensil, then the media might be there for the signing of the bill, so the governor will pretend to at least scan the bill by flipping the pages, so there will be some good photos to use in the next election television ads. (I have heard that one governor actually was looking at the entrée selection for that day’s important luncheon instead of the actual bill during a photo op.)
As governor, I promise to read each and every bill, even if I’ve already made up my mind about it. At least this way I might actually catch something that needs fixing and bring it to people’s attention before I sign or veto it.
A good example of this is a bill that must have been signed by our present governor one afternoon as she was putting on her coat on the way out the door to a lobsterfest and wasn’t in the mood to pay attention to details. (After all they did warn her: “Once the melted butter is gone…it’s gone.”)
Now a law, this bill makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who asks for a more flexible work arrangement. (You can’t make this stuff up since it’s never quite as amusing as the real thing.)
If the governor had actually read it, she might have noticed that there was no clear definition of what might be considered fair as far as a more flexible work arrangement goes. It also did not designate what might be considered retaliation by the employer.
In other words, the legislature passed along a bill that required certain things be done or not be done without clarifying what those things might or might not be.
These things happen, after all more pressing bills, like the aforementioned state eating utensil, were most likely on the docket that day and needed to be attended to quickly.
I wouldn’t have let this pass as governor. I would have noticed these big boo boos and sent the bill back for further consideration with suggestions of my own (if a governor can actually do that. I’ll have to look it up.)
Without guidelines in place, this law is really a free for all. Can an evening employee now ask for an hour off on the nights “Dancing With The Stars” is on, and if so, can the employer retaliate by placing an inflated Whoopee Cushion on the employees chair while they are gone?
Something like this may sound ridiculous, but since there are really no guidelines, anything goes. Lawsuits will be popping up all over the place and employees and employers will be spending valuable time requesting silly new flexible arrangements as well as devious retaliations and nothing will ever get done, the work force will slow to a halt and our economy might collapse. (Lawyers will have plenty to do though. Hey, wait a minute….whose idea was this bill anyway?)
A governor who pays attention to these things instead of worrying about melted butter will not let things like this happen. (Though, I think I might side with the Whoopee Cushion solution, those things will always be hilarious.)
No matter how frivolous or ridiculous a bill is that lands on my desk, I promise to take the time to read each one thoroughly. Even the ones that are pages long and I can’t understand since they contain enough legalese to clog up Manchester’s sewer system. At least I will try. At least I’ll do that much.
I know doing this will take up a lot of my time and many of the citizens of New Hampshire will become angry with me as it might cut into the time I have to cut ribbons for their new business for a nice picture in the paper and even keep me from giving a speech at another boring business luncheon (depending what’s on the menu, of course).
I will take my chances and do my best to make sure that each and every bill that lands on my desk is read.
Even if I’ve already made up my mind.

Visit Brendan’s website at www.brendantsmith.com