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Friday, January 09, 2009

24-hour Dorman: 2009 legislative glossary

Excerpted from this post at 24-hour Dorman

In four days, the Iowa Legislature returns to the Statehouse. I'm too excited to sleep. And in order to understand the Legislature's customs and rituals, it helps to speak fluent lawmaker. So I've compiled this short glossary of legis-speak, freshly updated for 2009. I've come across many new additions to the language listening to leaders and lawmakers in recent days. Bipartisan - A thoughtful invitation to the minority party to join the majority in a politically suicidal act. Example: "We hope our dear friends across the aisle will join us in a bipartisan effort to pass a whopping tax hike." ... 50-50 chance - It would take a miracle for that to happen. ... Innovation - New 2009 definition: The act of coming up with crazy moneymaking schemes at the end of a session when lawmakers realize they can't balance the budget with conventional tricks and dodges. Example: "Let's lease the lottery and put keno in bars and sell naming rights to state agencies, like the 'Department of Agriculture, Presented by Monsanto' and the 'Outback Statehouse.'" Now that's innovation. ... Eternally optimistic - Things don't look so good. Synonym: "Denial." Quite frankly - A phrase often used by a lawmaker who is trying very hard to avoid being frank. Example: "Quite frankly, I'm eternally optimistic."


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