Representation without Faxation

As any reporter, lobbyist, or campaign manager knows, trying to get a document by fax from a State House office or committee when the legislature is in session can be an experience that tries one’s patience–and keeps courier companies in business. It turns out not to be as easy as one might think. In the House especially, fax machines tend to be rationed in something akin to a Soviet-style system. And the result can be the same: waiting lines form.

Why does it have to be so damn difficult? you might ask.

A reporter set about trying to get to the bottom of this pressing question and gained valuable insight into the relative perquisites bestowed upon those who sit in the upper branch of the General Court, namely the Senate.

With 40 members and eight committees, Senate employees have use of 30 fax machines. The 160-member, seven-committee House has 21 machines.

Robin Bavaro, spokeswoman for House Speaker Thomas Finneran, emphasized that the machines are “strategically placed” so as not to inconvenience members or staff. And as for any grumbling over the paucity of machines, Bavaro says she hasn’t heard a peep.

Meet the Author
In the Senate, many members have their own machines, said Alison Franklin, spokeswoman for Senate President Tom Birmingham. “The Senate President sees this as a basic part of a modern, functioning office place,” said Franklin.

“Now tell me,” she added in a stage whisper, “how many do they have in the House?”