When Yes Means No

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“Barbara Marumoto Image”

When does yes mean no? When black is white, and white is black and Newspeak reigns supreme.


Recently, Rep. Galen Fox and I stood up and exhorted our fellow legislators to vote no on a bill. Alas, for our efforts we were recorded as voting yes. An explanation is required.

On April 8, 2003, the House was voting on all Senate bills. On SB 1088 SD 2 HD 2, Relating to Long Term Care, we both spoke against the measure. Before this vote, however, we had tried to amend the bill that included a long-term care program and an accompanying tax to pay for the program. The bill also featured a tax credit to help pay for private long-term care insurance policies. We wanted to retain only the tax credit provision. After the amendment failed we spoke against the original bill.

In the Legislature we pass bills by “consent calendar.” The floor leaders rise and read off the noes. Whether Rep. Fox and I failed to turn in our no votes on individual sheets of paper, or whether they were misplaced among the hundreds of no votes cast that day, we will never know. But our names were not listed among the nays on this particular measure. The Speaker informed Rep. Fox that it was “too late” to change the vote even though our intentions were obvious from our speeches.

I also had a problem registering a no vote on HCR 211/HR 164, the “Aloha Saddam” resolution. Resolutions are adopted using a different process. To vote no, legislators must stand up and state their objections. After long and impassioned speeches for and against resolutions of this type, the majority often calls for the question thus cutting off debate.

Or else the Speaker moves on to the next item on the agenda and requests that speeches be submitted for printing in the House Journal. On the Saddam resolution, I did not get to my feet fast enough to ask that my comments in opposition to the measure be inserted in the Journal. I missed the boat on that one.

There are always votes that we wish we had cast differently. But we are certain about these. However, we unable to change events – “