Friday, March 28, 2014

152.4 - Clown Award: State Sen. Richard Ross and Robert Leclair

Clown Award: State Sen. Richard Ross and Robert Leclair

Now it's time for one of our regular weekly features, the Clown Award, given as always for meritorious stupidity.

Well, I thought I had my clown, but a last-minute shift has put a different contender - in fact, two different contenders - in the top spot. So this week, the big red nose goes to the winning pair of Massachusetts State Sen. Richard Ross and former Wrentham selectman Robert Leclair.

I was going to give the award to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley - Queen Nikki, as an on-line friend calls her - who recently told an automotive conference that manufacturers with unionized workforces should stay the heck out of South Carolina.

Yes, she said that, in so many words: "It's not something we want to see happen," she said. "We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don't want to" - still quoting - "taint the water."

So what could top that?

Ross did it by introducing a bill that would prohibit a divorcing parent from having sex in their own home. It says, quoting:
In divorce, separation, or 209A proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts.
Ross has gruffly and grandly defended himself, noting that the bill was filed, as it says, "by request" from a petition filed by Leclair. Under Massachusetts' sometimes arcane procedures, any citizen can petition their representative to introduce a bill. The legislator who introduces it does not necessarily agree with the bill, which they can indicate by noting the bill was introduced "by request." Ross says he doesn't agree with this one and accuses those who have laughed at his actions of failing to understand the democratic process.

        Ross                       Leclair        
But ya know what? I don't buy it. Especially because a) Ross is from Wrentham, Massachusetts, as is Leclair and they are both former Wrentham selectmen. I don't know if they were on the board at the same time, but it still means that they ran in the same political circles in the same town. And b) this is not the first time Ross has introduced this bill for Leclair, having done so at least once before, in 2011.

So no, Sen. Ross, I don't accept that this is all about "respecting the democratic process" instead of being about clownishly wasting the time of the legislature and the legislative clerk by introducing a patently stupid bill that even you say is going nowhere and is not only inane but lacks both enforcement provisions and penalties, in order to show some love to a political crony.

As for Leclair, this former head of a fathers' rights group who went through his own bitter divorce, he actually claims that this bill is not inane, that it's a serious attempt to address domestic violence and is really ticked off that no one is taking it as seriously as it deserves.

Actually, Mr. Leclair, I think we're taking it exactly as seriously as it deserves.

Sen. Richard Ross and former Wrentham selectman Robert Leclair: The reasons are different, but you are both clowns.


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