By Lyle Hillyard
Senator: District 25
As we end the third week of the ’06 session, several impressions are clear.
1. The unique personalities and perspectives became clear but are beginning to settle down as the session progresses. Sometimes people need to express their concerns or just throw ideas out for further debate and consideration. Some ideas even gain “legs” and start to take on life.
As the session develops, most realize that final decisions must be made and, for the vast part, good results will occur. Of course, quirks here and there will be found to the delight of the media but by and large it is truly amazing to see democracy at work; the conflicting interests and pressure packed days end up with an acceptable product.
2. An election year session with “lots of money” will put added pressure on the process. “What will look good” on resumes this fall sometimes motivates bill filings, requests, and votes. A good way to kill some real “pork projects” is to so load them down with goodies (make them like a Christmas tree) that they fall on their own lavishness.
There is truly never enough money but it is harder to say “no” when requesters have heard about all the money. It is good to get away from the Capitol and all the “requests” and just walk around town and visit with the people back home to see what they really want.
3. The task forces and interim study committees have helped refine the bills we do. The bills need less debate during floor and committee time. New ideas can be sent to interim (not to just kill them) because legislators know that process can work. The public can better access the issues and maybe by good, early work we can even quit by 6:00 p.m. on the last night.