Committee observations

January 21, 2010
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If I checked my Blackberry, read the news online, generally just didn’t pay attention, or even got up and left during a meeting, I think that would be rude behavior. But my behavior would be acceptable apparently as a member of our General Assembly.

I’m pretty green when it comes witnessing firsthand the workings of our legislators, so I was caught off guard at how the committee meeting I attended took place. I was amazed at how long it took for the 8:30 a.m. meeting to start. I foolishly thought that I had to be there right on time and that the legislators would value punctuality. I’m sure they are busy and have a lot to do and would want to get the show on the road, but that didn’t happen for another 20 minutes.

Some of the senators in this particular meeting checked their phones, got up frequently, and even stared into space for a period of time while someone was testifying about a bill.

Someone who doesn’t work in government or work with the government may be offended by the behavior if they aren’t prepared for it. To spend your time preparing a statement and then looking up to see what appears to be half the committee not paying attention would frustrate me.

In the private workplace, this behavior during a meeting wouldn’t fly, but as I attend more meetings and hearings, I’ll learn that’s just how it’s done in the legislature.
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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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