Not only do our legislators choose their voters by drawing their own districts by gerrymandering, but they have empowered their leadership to severely limit their own participation in the bill-making process. Only the ruling party makes the rules. How can it be that bills enjoying that overwhelming support never received a vote on the House floor? That is because the House rules, voted on at the beginning of each session, surrender control of the legislative process to three positions in the House. Only the Majority leaders of the House and Senate establish how and what the rules will permit. Little time is given between the time the rules are presented and the leadership places it up for a vote, without review by either party. Therefore, these are the rules they must work with for the next two years with little chance for change.

So where does that leave us voters? The representative ends up reflecting more the needs of the party than the voter. Call or write a letter to encourage your representative to do the right thing for their voters. Emphasize these three points: (a) guarantee a vote in committee on bills with bipartisan support, (b) guarantee a floor vote on bills that come out of committee and (c) ensure that a bill approved by one chamber is guaranteed a floor vote in the other chamber. We need to do this before Jan. 5, 2021, or the rules will be set for the next two years.

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