Friday, February 10, 2012

President Wins One for Old Notre Dame and in MN Score Four for the 4%ers (i.e. the Little Guys)

If you have not read my profile or figured out by now from my writings, like Harvey Levin says on the closing credits of TMZ: "I'm a lawyer". My current job description requires that I keep abreast and research all aspects of the law as well as state and federal legislation and their respective regulatory processes.

I know for instance that the President was on the level when he said that no decision had been made on a final contraception policy when he initially made his announcement about a week ago. That's because the Federal Rulemaking process is a multi-step process which requires, in part, an agency to:

Sign and publish notice of proposed rule in Federal Register, conduct stakeholder outreach, manage public comments on proposed rule, review and consider public comments, statutory and executive order requirements, optional agency procedures (e.g., supplemental proposal), conduct internal and external deliberation and approval processes, publish final rules in Federal Register and lastly, to again conduct stakeholder outreach. (Source: GAO Report to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee April 2009 citing EPA.)

This process can normally take up to one year and we were only at the very early, initiating policy stage of the process. The President, in response to heated and unfair criticisms and pure demagoguery, certainly sped up the commentary and deliberative processes but the actual reg still needs to be written and follow the approval process. This is how the system works.

I listened to the President's announcement yesterday live on the radio and I thought the President laid his case out like a skilled litigator and cut his opponents off at their knees. I challenge anyone to listen to his entire announcement and dispute the pragmatism and wisdom of his compromise and solution to a difficult and complex problem, in a pluralistic society, involving many stakeholders and rights including everything from individual health to the nation's economy to fundamental constitutional issues such as religious freedoms, privacy and libertarian ideals (i.e. control over one's own body not Ron Paul's convoluted notion of economic liberty and isolationism). High marks and fives to the President on this one.

Meanwhile back in Minnesota the Republicans who control the legislature tried to pull a fast one. Without an iota of a chance for passage and without following the normal legislative process, rushed to the Governor for signature four major pieces of legislation. Had the Republican majorities in both the Minnesota House and Senate had a Republican governor to rubber stamp their payback to their fat cat benefactors, the legislation would have become law. This would have had dramatic impacts on the Minnesota Judicial system, all to the detriment of the average citizen and all to the benefit of big business, insurance companies and wealthy elites who do not play by the rules.

Never mind that at least one of these one-sided pieces of legislative garbage was blatantly unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. Never mind the fact that the Republicans believe that businesses and insurance companies deserve 10% interest on their judgments and ordinary citizens would have been relegated to only 4%. Well on behalf of all the 4%ers out there: Thank you Governor Dayton for your righteous vetoes.

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