I went to Pierre a few days before the session started. I wanted to make sure I had a place to sleep. Hotel living is okay, for a week or two, beyond that, not so much. I refuse to live out of a suitcase for two months. I have a room with some family friends a couple of blocks from the capitol. I needed to get a few things to make my stay a little more bearable, like a coffee pot. I figured it would take a day or two get everything settled.
If I could summarize the first week in the legislature I would say it is very similar to the first days of High School. There is finding your locker, your desk, where you need to be at. There is paperwork that needs to be filled out. There is even picture day. They only thing missing is Delta Dental stuff to take home. There is meeting old friends and making new ones. The legislature has routine, that works, I just need to fit in.
Mail is delivered to my desk twice a day. There is no shortage of ‘stuff.’ Someone somewhere thought it was important enough to bring to my attention; I read everything at least once. I notice my desk is rather smallish compared to what I am used to. I also noticed my desk is at a slant to the front of the room. From what I gathered it was so everyone can see and hear the speaker, who ever that may be.
The days routine are pretty simple, Committee hearing in the morning, followed by party caucus meetings, then the session in the main House Chamber. In the evening we have a ‘full’ social calendar. The first few days we were on ‘Auto-Pilot’ There wasn’t much debate on anything, mostly informational hearings.
One of the first Items of business was taking the Oath of Office. I truly felt honored and humbled that the people of Humboldt, Hartford, Crooks, Wall Lake and Sioux Falls have chosen me to represent them. This not a duty I take lightly. Swearing an oath to that duty is an honor.
On to the elephant in the room, Initiated Measure 22.
On the opening day, there was a group of a dozen or so people demonstrating on the capitol steps,in the cold, asking to have their voices heard. That is their right, and I do not want to take that away from them. However If you really want your voice heard, come in out of the cold, I will buy you a cup of coffee, or hot coco, and we can have a discussion. Waving signs on the capitol steps is media stunt.
If you really want to have a discussion, call me, E-mail me, write me, meet with me, I will even set up a time for a video chat, and we can have a discussion. So far I have received only two E-mails and one video chat.
IM 22 is a monster, loaded with (un)intended consequences. Yet, even after being warned twice that the measure would be challenged as unconstitutional, the sponsors still pushed the campaign, and the voters approved it. We, as a legislature, have heard the voters, we know you are tired of hearing about the scandals, tired of hearing about the corruption. We are working on a series of bills to address those issues. It is not going be fast, however it be done right. ‘nuff said on IM 22
This weekend I am back home! I need to take care of a things, like laundry. I also have a company Holiday Party to attend.
Then back to Pierre for week two.