Friday March 13, 2020 started very early for the House of Representatives in Concord, as we where still working the session that had begun 14 hours prior to midnight. We were up late working because of the failure of the Democrat majority to properly handle the scheduling of House business. Perhaps they should have skipped the day wasted reprimanding legislators for NOT violating the House rules.
Earlier in the day (Thursday the 12th) there was concern that a member of the House might have been in contact with a person who may have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in the recent past. COVID-19 was not yet a household word but it was becoming a lead story in the news. With a push to get bills to second committees prior to crossover, we finished our session around 4 a.m. By 5:15 p.m. the Governor would declare a state of emergency to deal with the coming pandemic of COVID-19.
In mid-March of 2020 no one would question the proper coarse of action taken by the Governor. The models touted by experts warned of hospitals being overrun with seriously ill patients, many of whom would be in ICU units and require ventilators to be kept alive. At the expiration of the first declaration of the state of emergency, preparations were underway for the coming surge of COVID-19 patients, hospitals stopped taking elective procedures and furloughed doctors and nurse to be ready for the surge.
At the end of the second 21 day state of emergency, it was becoming clear that our hospitals would not be overrun with COVID-19 patients. Hospitals operated with over 90 percent of their beds available through the surge.
With many executive orders in place limiting social behavior the Governor was in a difficult position. If he did not continue the state of emergency all of the executive orders would be removed and business would be restored to its regular statutory controls. People had been terrified by the media’s exaggerated claims and would proceed with extreme caution for the most part. He viewed the option to end the state of emergency as too risky, in part because he might be targeted with responsibility for those who would die from the disease.
While the Governor wrestled with running the state from the corner office, depending on information for the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization (much of which was backed by faulty models), the Democrat majority legislature sat back and only spoke up to fruitlessly sue for control of Federal funds. The abysmal reporting by the media would allow you to think the Governor prohibited the legislature from meeting. The only thing stopping the legislature from meeting was the Democrat leadership (the term used very loosely). Other than the inability to get their hands on the Federal funds they have been happy to leave all the work of managing a fading crisis in the hands of the Governor. There is little doubt in my mind that they love the precedent being set and look forward to using such powers with the flimsiest excuse in the future.
Now, at the start of June, it is very clear that this disease is almost entirely a problem affecting people in long term care facilities. Attention must be focused on the vulnerable and the rest of us need to be aware of contacts that may be connected to those facilities. We need to get on with living. Those who wish to isolate themselves waiting for a vaccine will be waiting for a very long time. The rest of us will be out building natural herd immunity and living.
House Speaker Shurtleff and Senate President Soucy have cooked up a pageant to give the appearance of ‘doing the people’s work’, by scheduling an abbreviated calendar of events to close out the session. The outcome they desire is to stuff the Democrats’ wish list into a few bills and send them off to the Governor for vetoes; campaign theatrics, pure and simple. Republicans, being in the minority, have one tool; stopping a rule change (which requires 2/3 of those voting). It is a tool that must be used to stop the sham of appearing to do the people’s work. Pretending to be productive is simply lying and wasting tax money putting on a show. Democrats will cry “obstruction”; that’s fine, stopping sewage from flowing into the lake is obstruction of which to be proud.