|Is this the Rhode Island legislative building or a big|
party spot. Some people wonder.
Take the Rhode Island legislature.
One freshman lawmaker there says she was stunned to see how much boozing goes on there.
According to Vice and numerous other media outlets, newly-elected Providence Democrat Rep. Moira Walsh said liquor cabinets are always full at the Rhode Island Statehouse and there's plenty of moments that break out into parties.
Walsh mentioned this not long about as a guest on WPRO News Talk 99.7 radio. She said:
"I am probably gonna get in a lot of trouble for saying this, but the drinking, it is drinking that blows my mind. You cannot operate a motor ehicle when you've had two beers, but you can make laws that affect people's lives forever when you're half in the bag? That's outrageous."
Of course, the
She later "clarified" her comments and said Rhode Island House members were not drinking during hearings or before votes, but afterwards, such as at frequent fundraiser cocktail parties.
Earlier on the WPRO show, Walsh had said that legislators kept filing cabinets full of alcohol. "Dude, they put shots on our desk for the Dominican Republic day and we all just did shots on the floor."
Other lawmakers dismissed the idea that the Rhode Island legislature was one big party boat.
"House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi told The Providence Journal that he has never seen the behavior Walsh described in his five years as a representative and noted that floor sessions and many committee meetings are taped for the public to watch.
With the media present, Shekarchi believes if they saw something amiss they would have reported it."
On the record, at least, other lawmakers agreed with Shekarchi. One, Rep. Patricia Serpa condescendingly said of Walsh: "It's cldarly again an inexperienced legislator who doesn't understan. And I forgive her for that."
I can't imagine Rhode Island's legislature is the only one with an (alleged!) drinking habit. The Vice article goes on to note that for a time, the California legislators were given free rides home from work to prevent drunken driving arrests.
However, that practice was abandoned a couple years ago so that lawmakers would somehow regain the trust of the public.