Thursday, January 22, 2009

Revolving doors

Yesterday, the House Insurance Committee met. Pretty normal meeting. There were three bills. One of them was a mandate for hearing aids. A couple of people from the general public testified and all were respectful. One of the ladies was pretty fired up, but did a nice job.

The best part of the meeting came when former State Rep. Mike Ripley testified on a bill. He was a member of the committee last year and now serves as the health lobbyist for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He got a good-natured ribbing from his former committee and was all in good fun.

Regardless of one's feelings on "revolving doors", Mike is a great guy and will be a great lobbyist. The public are told by the media that revolving doors are a bad thing and imply that there is something wrong with the practice. I've been at the Indiana Statehouse for over 10 years and while I obviously can't say it's never happened, but I can say that I've never seen a former legislator be given preferential votes for his or her issue.

They may be friendly with their former colleagues and they may have a more revealing conversation with their former colleagues, but legislators will continue to vote their conscience (or their caucus directives) regardless of the advocacy of a former legislator. Just my two cents.

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