Not so hot seats | The Hoglawyer

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Not so hot seats

Posted By on Sat, Mar 24, 2007 at 4:36 PM

I had a first this week. I found a sponsor for a bill and testified before the Senate Judicial Committee. I speak professionally all the time but anytime I do something for the first time, like anyone else, I'm a bit nervous, stutter and stammer. Fortunately, it only lasted about 20 seconds, there were no questions, and passed without a roll call. Of course, when the main thing your bill does is correct the name of your agency in parts of the code, there isn't going to be much resistance. My twenty second on the not-so-hot-seat did make me much more sympathetic to those who don't have such an easy bill to get through. Sometimes legislators aren't so cordial, especially when they sense a bill's sponsor is not being forthcoming with in their answers. Fortunately, the session might end in a matter of days and most bills will be flying faster that a legislator runs to a free meal. Apparently they were irritated that they had some meetings Friday afternoon and couldn't go to the races that day. There is a proposal to have the legislature meet every year to discuss budget issues. Of course, there is many times a fine line between what constitutes a budget issue and what is a substance issue so if it passes it might mean yearly meetings. I'm not sure thats such a bad thing. There is not enough time spend looking at these bills and two years is a long time to wait if a good bill doesn't get passed or if a a bad bill needs to be reconsidered. Of course, many states have virtually perpetual full-time general assemblies. If this meant they would get paid a full-time salary I'm not sure that is such a bad thing. As it is now, a person of average means would find it very difficult to afford to be in the Arkansas House of Representatives. We would surely get more diversity if more people were able to run for these seats. On the other hand, I often here the less time the legislature is in session, that means the less time they have to do damage. There is certainly some truth to this as well.

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