Honestly, I know that this is even a controversy — and I hesitate to even use that word — because Dori Monson can’t fill his entire air time with actual news and commentary.
The basic back story is that since 1983, the state has had a law on the books that says we’ll use gender neutral words and phrases in our laws. So instead of fireman, laws drafted since 1983 say firefighter. Instead of somewhere being manned, it’s staffed, etc. You know: acknowledge that women are a part of the government. It doesn’t fix the social problems around gender in the state, but it acknowledges that women and men can do the same jobs.
This year, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles introduced a bill to fix the law from before 1983 so it matches up with what has become law since. It wasn’t a high priority; people had been working on it since 2008, and if they’d wanted to rush it through, it would have been done in 2008. But they’re finally confident that it’s good to go, so it passed the Senate unanimously. Easy. Done. You can find a few examples that seem to go a bit overboard if you’re looking for them but basically this is a way to correct past mistakes in the way we talk about women in government.
So Dori, seeing that this has already happened, decides to get angry at all the time being wasted. Only problem is that there wasn’t really any time wasted. Legislators pass bills to fix the code all the time, like it’s part of their job. And even if you’re worried about the time wasted, the fact that he’s ranting and railing about it and bringing Senator Kohl-Welles onto his show is taking up more time than if he hadn’t decided this was in issue. The few times she brought it back to serious issues like the budget or child protection, he wanted to keep asking her about the non-issue he decided was an issue.