Thursday, December 27, 2007


Nobody likes lengthy committee hearings. Not legislators, not reporters, not even the ever-popular stakeholders. The marathon hearing of the joint Assembly Budget and Education Committees on Governor Jon Corzine’s proposed school funding formula is a perfect example. The extra-tedious testimony led many panel members to drift in and out of the room and spurred one lawmaker to wonder if one of her colleagues had drifted off to sleep.

GOP Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, a Budget Committee member, was in the midst of asking many, very detailed questions when Education Committee chairman Craig Stanley, a Democrat, interrupted her to say his uncle (Assemblyman Bill Payne, vice chair of the Budget Committee) told him Budget panel members tend to go on and on. Prior to her turn for questioning McHose did suggest a “7th inning stretch.” Clearly not happy about being interrupted, McHose, “Maybe you were asleep when I recommended that we take a break, Craig.” The packed room gasped a little and Stanley assured McHose he was not sawing logs.

In fairness, nobody in their right mind would fault Stanley or any other committee member if they had in fact dozed off.

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