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.