Have you ever played that carnival game, “Whack-a-mole?”
You stand over a box holding a mallet. The box has 12 holes in the top. A fake mole pops up out of a random hole. You try to hit it with the mallet. The mole drops down into the hole, and another one pops up out of another random hole.
Before long you are busy swinging away trying to “whack” these moles that keep popping up all over the place.
That’s what it feels like trying to stay on top of the bills that are being “amended” to become the next PLDC, or to include some completely new idea not envisioned in the original bill.
SB 215 has been amended to propose a new “Public-Private Partnership Authority.” It’s being heard before Senator Dela Cruz’s Economic Development Committee today (Wednesday). Similar to the PLDC, this new Authority would be the development arm for the state.
The bill is ready-made to include exemptions from a variety of laws during some future amendment. It lists the same limited number of laws that the PLDC had to follow when developing projects. Which implies the Authority, like the PLDC, will not need to follow other laws not on the list – after such exemptions are dropped into the bill at a later time.
Other bills are being scheduled for decision-making, and, lo-and-behold, a completely different Senate Draft 1 is handed to us at the hearing. Then I’m told I can’t ask questions of anyone in the audience because it’s decision-making and we’re not taking testimony.
Not all committees are run in this manner; not all chairs radically alter bills on short notice. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that it’s the minority. But it seems to waste the most energy for the least productive result.
I always did like the bumper cars better than the games at the carnival.
Come to think of it, they’re a little bit like the legislature too.