Michael Clark: My time in the Office –Week #4 Coffee anyone?

A mainstay of the legislative session is the Cracker Barrels and Legislative Coffees. This is where the legislators go back to their districts an discuss the issues.

So far I have many semi-private sessions, kind of hi-Jacked Theresa Stehly’s Coffee with the Council,  and Yesterday I had my first public event.

Normally, when I meet some one for coffee to discuss the issues, I have some idea about topic. I can do a little research, and be prepared with facts. With the public forum, other than IM 22 issues, I didn’t have a clue what topics would be discussed. Given the amount of mail I have received on SB 61 (updating regulations dealing with nurse practitioners) I guess this would come up.

Last Friday was the last day for bills to be submitted, and there were a number that dropped; Many, we didn’t get a chance to read. To my (I can’t speak to the rest of the panel) delight, the moderator referred to the bills by number. That made it easy to look up, to be honest some of those bill I was wonder what the problem was, others it was glaringly obvious.

I should give a tip of the hat to the Sioux Falls Police and the South Dakota Highway Patrol. They did a great job in keeping the peace, and making sure everyone behaved themselves. The was one IM22 protester holding a sign, and he was asked to put the sign away, and he left. Near the end, there were a few shouts from the crowd, and the moderator quickly restored order. There was also a group who had unhappy face signs and would show them when ever something was said that displeased them.

The real action happen afterwards. This is when we can have one on one conversations with the people. For the most part they were productive, except, the coffee ran out.

This is the only coffee for this session I have been scheduled for. I am sure there will be more opportunities for me to meet the the people of district.  I prefer the more informal format, where we can have a discussion, instead of just one question one answer.

2 thoughts on “Michael Clark: My time in the Office –Week #4 Coffee anyone?”

  1. Michael what did you mean by “So far I have many semi-private sessions, kind of hi-Jacked Theresa Stehly’s Coffee with the Council” hi-jacked Theresa Stehly’s Coffee with council? Hi-jacked?

    I did not hear you speak up much to the questions asked at the cracker barrel. Did you make one comment? It seemed our legislators were not too familiar with the bills which did not make them look to good.

    Were the HP and police really needed that bad at the cracker barrel or is this just hype in an effort to discredit those who are not too happy with the actions of our legislature? There should never be threats of harm or damage to property to those who serve. If someone is unhappy they should 1st communicate respectfully and if that does not work vote them out.

  2. In defense of legislators, there are hundreds of bills in the Legislature each year. Many of these bills do not survive their first hearing in committee. Legislators pay greater attention to the bills they personally sponsor or cosponsor, the bills that are heard in a committee on which they server, and bills that are controversial or otherwise “major” – bills where constituents and/or lobbyists are saying “this one’s important to me and here’s why it should be important to you.” For the rest, they let the legislative process work and get up to speed when the works its way to the floor.

    Another point to remember is that many bills are amended after they’re introduced, which means that what you know about a bill can change quickly. That adds to the complexity and amount a legislator needs to keep track of. Another reason for a legislator to choose what bills to focus on at any given point in the session.

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