Legislative Affairs

Debate has a vaunted place in American history. There were the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and the Kennedy-Nixon debates. I’m told there are almost daily debates between George W. Bush’s advisors about whether the President has sufficiently mastered the use of the letter “B” to move on to learning the use of the letter “C.”

And it’s not only politics; people debate whether OJ Simpson is really looking hard enough for the real killer (I say yes!). And I don’t know, but I imagine that recording executives frequently debate whether Celine Dion should be allowed to make another album, or should instead be tied to a spit, fed to Grizzly bears, and have her remains sent deep into the Earth’s magma.

It was this history that haunted me as I stood up to debate my first bill on the House Floor. I was also somewhat intimidated by the new and arcane rules of protocol that govern the House. For example, I learned that the word “douchebag” is almost never appropriate. In fact, Representatives bend over backwards to refer to each other with glowing, flowery epithets. “The Honorable Representative” is often heard, as is “My Esteemed Colleague.” I just resolved to remember to always refer to any fellow-rep addressing me in similarly flattering terms. Thusly, the debate began.

…and so in short, Mr. Speaker, my bill would create what I call a “Pilot Credit Card Debt Forgiveness Program,” to see if it is a good idea statewide.

Representative Puckerman
Mr. Speaker, I rise to see if I may interrogate my distinguished colleague.

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to be interrogated by the Most Amply Rotund Gentleman.

Representative Puckerman
Excuse me?

You may commence the interrogation.

Representative Puckerman
Mr. Speaker, I was wondering if the most learned Representative’s bill only applies to a very small group of beneficiaries whose credit card debt would just be forgiven?

I would say to the Senior Representative of Cambria County, whose girth and receding hairline are surely a sign of virility, that it is true that my pilot program is rather small.

Representative Puckerman
Did you say “Receding Hairline?”

The Speaker
The interrogation may continue.

Representative Puckerman
And is it also not true that when my most wise and just friend from the Southeast says that his pilot program of credit card forgiveness is small, he means that it applies only to him?

I thank you for the question, oh sage-like colleague, whose wife is surely more attractive than the pictures of her would
lead one to believe…

Representative Puckerman

The Speaker
The gentleman from Montgomery County will answer the question.

Mr. Speaker, it is not true that the bill mentions me as the only participant in the credit card debt forgiveness pilot program. It is just that I coincidentally happen to be the only person we’ve yet found who fits the criteria for the program. Namely,
being from a suburban county, having over $20,000 in credit card debt, being under 65 years of age, weighing 203 pounds, having a cat he calls “Foamster,” and a first name rhyming with “Maylin.” If the good member from Cambria County, whose corpulent face only scares children who are weak-natured, can find other people who fit that criteria, we’d be happy to include them in the program.

At this point, Representative Puckerman leapt across several desks, in what appeared to be an attempt to reach my throat. He was restrained by about a dozen large security guards, who almost seemed to be expecting the attack. I guess some people can’t handle being disagreed with. Regrettably, my “Credit Card Debt Forgiveness Pilot Program” went down to a rather lopsided defeat. However, I am far more optimistic about my “Guys-with-Ping-Pong-Tables-in-their-Basement” tax credit bill, which comes up next week. I hope Puckerman gets himself together by then.



What a long strange trip its been
– The Grateful Dead –

Families is where wings take dream!
– George W. Bush –
(This quote isn’t particularly germane to my story, I just get a kick out of it)

There are few things as frightening as the legislative process (a Celine Dion concert comes to mind). Recently, we debated for 14 hours, and passed a gambling bill, which everyone knew was never going to become law. This may be less of a waste of time than entering a Yahtze tournament, but only slightly.

One of the reasons the debate lasted for 14 hours is that some legislators just went on and on. One example was Representative Fluke. He started out cogently enough:

Representative Fluke
Gambling is a stain on our society. It is immoral
and leads to addiction…

But some people don’t know to finish once they’ve made their point:

Representative Fluke
…this is just like when the Charlamagne hoisted his flag
over all of the Peloponesian…

“No it’s not!” I thought. It’s nothing like that. “Charlamagne has precious little to do with nailing 3 lemons in a row.” So I temporarily tuned Fluke out and observed my colleagues. Some were sleeping, some were reading. Some were turning to coal. At one point, a Rep from Adams County snuck a case of whiskey into the members lounge just off the floor. Legislating while drunk; this seemed like an excellent idea! First, I stuck my head back in to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important:

Representative Fluke
…and so, of the 47% of the people who read 12% of the polls at least 66% of the time, I am one of the 52% who think that the other 48% of the people are 75% wrong 90% of the time.

Nope, nothing doing there. So it was back to the lounge for policy discussions over double-shooters of Ol’ Granddad. After two rounds, the discussion grew very philosophical. There was much talk about the true meaning of Kierkegaard, and the Raison d’etre of the body politic. After 4 rounds, we were all on chairs, chanting, “Let’s Screw Jersey!! Let’s Screw Jersey!!” It was about this time that I again began to feel guilty about missing the debate, and popped back to the floor:

Representative Fluke
…and that reminds me of a recipe for Rice Pudding I know…

I arrived back in the lounge in time for rounds 6 and 7. At this point Republicans and Democrats were openly hugging, weeping, and telling their adversaries they loved them. They were also profusely apologizing in advance for all of the negative attack mail they were going to send into each other’s districts next election.

By Round 9, we had drawn up a new manifesto of laws we wanted to pass. We wrote them down and were prepared to move them by acclimation if Fluke ever shut up. Oh…and we were nude. Here is the list, or what we were determined to call “The Round 9 Act of…Whatever the Hell Year it is!”

= The new state bird would hereforth be Whiskey

= Last call would be changed from 2:00 AM to 2:30 WM, which isn’t actually a time.

= The age of consent would officially be lowered to “When Poppa ain’t around.”

= Only sober people would be subject to the income tax.

= All “Health Care” funds would be diverted to “Hangover Care.”

At this point, we didn’t give a hoot about gambling. We were too busy preparing to pour round 12 and begin singing “Neil Diamond’s Greatest Hits” in its entirety. I stumbled back out to the floor just to see if Fluke was done yet.

Representative Fluke … and in conclusion


Representative Fluke
…I know some of you don’t think I can count
very high.

Oh No, he wouldn’t

Representative Fluke
Well, I aim to prove you all wrong tonight. One, two, three, four, five…

Fortunately, one of the members snuck Fluke a few rounds of Ol Granddad, and he lost track at 12,385. So we eventually did pass a slots bill and went home. Hey, I told you it wasn’t pretty.

Dutch Larooo


Recently we sent out a survey to everyone in my legislative district. (Well, almost everyone. There is one guy who lives in a tank behind the Dunkin Donuts. He is always naked and snarls when people come near. He didn’t get a survey). The survey asked a series of questions about current events, designed to find out what my district is thinking about what I’m doing in the capitol, other than, “Why, good God why?”

I am all for surveys. In fact, if I were surveyed on my thoughts on surveys, I would check the “All For” box. However, it seems to me that if you really want information, you shouldn’t make the questions so slanted that the answer you want is obvious. For example, my survey was written by the Democratic Party, and it seemed like the questions were slightly biased to me. But read the survey yourself, and you be the judge.

Representative Leach’s Constituent Survey

Question # 1 Our fine Governor has introduced an education plan. Do you:

a) Support our fine governor’s effort to move education forward.

b) Oppose our fine governor’s plan, and prefer to see all of our
children spend their lives as stupid as wheat, growing
mullets and barking like hyenas at passing trolleys, lacking the good sense to do otherwise.

Question #2

The Democratic Party has a property tax plan, known as “A Plan for a New Pennsylvania.”
The Republican Party also has a property tax plan, known as “A Plan for
Bucktoothed Barn monkeys who marry their Sisters”

Do you:
A) Support the Democratic Plan
B) Support the Republican Plan

Question # 3

The Democratic Plan for Economic Development is supported by our fine
governor and 5 Nobel-laureates.
The Republican Plan for Economic Development is supported by Saddam
Hussein, Beelzebub – Hell’s Dark Knight, and the creepy guy from the
movie “Urban Cowboy.” Do you:

a) support the Democratic Plan
b) worship at the shrine of the beastmaster

Question # 4

Do you support our fine governor’s plan for the environment?

Yes _________

Question # 5

Would you rather:

______a) See our fine governor’s universal pre-school proposals enacted

______b) Go “all the way” with Beatrice Arthur

(When answering this question, it is important to note that the Republican
party wants 2 things above all: deep cuts in education spending, and to
see you go “all the way” with Bea Arthur).

Question # 6

If you knew that all Republicans had a rare, contagious, incurable skin
disease, would you be:

a) Reluctant to bathe with them
b) Not Reluctant to bathe with them

Question # 7

If offered $1,000 to say “Republicans Suck,” would you be willing to say:

_______ Republicans Suck

Question # 8

I would support Representative Leach for reelection under the following

____ The economy is better than when he took office.

____ He promised to move to Germany.

____ He actually moved to Germany.

____ The Germans expressed a willingness to take him.

____ On election day I had a belly full of mountain whiskey.

____ I lost a bet.

____ He stopped lurking nude in my bushes.

____ He was running against his clone.
____ It was part of being a contestant on “Fear Factor.”

____ My soul tuned dark and hollow.

____ Only if all of the above were true.

A few days later we received an overwhelming response, if two can be considered overwhelming. The answers came in pretty much as we expected, except that my reelect numbers were a little disappointing (we were hoping for integers). I just hope that we really gained some insight into what our constituents/fans were thinking.

Dutch Larooo