Speaker Armond Budish’s Iron Fist: Silence Representatives!
Long ago, Republican Leader Bill Batchelder once wore a dog muzzle on the House floor to protest not being able to speak out on issues as the minority party.
Today, as methods of communication have changed, stifling of speech in the Ohio legislature apparently has not. In reaction to Senator Shannon Jones’ tough commentary on Twitter during Gov. Strickland’s State of the State address, Luddite Speaker Armond Budish, is cracking down on dissent. Insubordination to the state will NOT be tolerated!:
COLUMBUS: Ohio lawmakers who used Twitter to comment during Gov. Ted Strickland’s State of the State address this week appear to have broken the rules.
Members of the Legislature gathered for Tuesday’s speech on the floor of the Ohio House, which bans the use of electronic communication devices during session.
House Speaker Armond Budish calls the House a “hallowed institution” and says if he sees anyone tweeting from the floor on a smart phone or similar device, he’ll put a stop to it.
This situation is similar to the major dust-up in Congress that took place in 2008, when super-tweeting Congressman John Culberson joined with other members of Congress, including Ohio’s own Tim Ryan, to change the outdated House rules, which considered Twittering a form of campaigning. In the fall of 2009, Congress adopted new rules to allow members to blog, vlog, Twitter and otherwise communicate with their constituents online… even during- GASP!- session.
If Congress can change their rules, why can’t Speaker Buddish be more permissive about the use of technology? Sen. Jones never yelled “You lie!”, but simply expressed herself, sending messages to any constituent who cares to read her updates. It sounds like Speaker Buddish is just sore that Jones’ cut right to the heart of why Ted Strickland is a bad Governor, and the comments were biting enough that the media ran entire articles on it.
What is cool about Twitter is that, unlike writing a letter to your representative and receiving a form letter in response, it allows for instant communication to elected officials. The requirement to keep messages short (140 characters) forces people to get to the point, and Representatives only have to spend seconds developing a fast response… which can be read by anyone. And all of this happens at no cost to the state.
Speaker Budish is damn scared that he is about to loose the majority in November, and is more than happy to take this opportunity to silence what is said about Ohio Democrats’ job killing agenda. But he must NOT be allowed to get away with this!