Friday, January 27, 2012
Moving Forward: Lessons From The First Week of Session 2012
This week has been quite the learning experience. Like anyone learning to ride a bike, the first step is to learn to stay up and moving. Once you get comfortable and aren't tipping over all the time, you can start to do more adventurous things.
This week's adventurous activity was being the only Freshman to have bills to present on the first day of presentations. These bills were heard during interim session several months ago and were approved UNANIMOUSLY by our committee at that time. A couple weeks ago I got a call from a colleague who asked if he could take HB30 and run it through the Senate with some minor alterations. I agreed since I thought it would be a good opportunity to work with a seasoned Senator and learn from his experience. That left me with HB22 and HB23 to present on the House Floor. These bills were seemingly simple and very straight forward...or so I thought.
The State has a new video archive system. You can watch my initial presentation HERE. (Be sure to click on the HB22 link in the scroll box below the player.) Unfortunately, I had some problems. First, my laptop battery died with my notes on it just as I got up to present. Second, I had no written notes. Third, I had not spent enough time reviewing the material and I had difficulty with mental translation. The summary I received from the Department of Workforce Services (DWS), who requested the legislation, was longer than the bill itself and written in a cryptic dialect of Bureaucratese. Here is the summary:
If you watch the video you can see the bill fail as the voting board runs red with "No" Votes. The title of the bill wasn't helpful either. Many of my colleagues expressed their distaste with the bill title. It might as well have read: Federal Mandate Database Act. Clearly, the Federalist spirit is alive and well in our legislative body.
To make the day even more interesting, I had to present HB23 immediately after that. You can use the same link to find that presentation. Fortunately, it went moderately better and the bill passed.
When HB22 failed, a colleague told me that he would bring the bill back for reconsideration if I could get some more information on the implications of the bill. I met with DWS at 9:30am the following morning to inquire as to its benefits and advantages. To my surprise there were many more than were initially provided.
You can watch video of my second presentation at 10:00 AM HERE. (Be sure to click on HB22 again). The bill passed. It is not very often that a failed bill gets a second opportunity at life. I am grateful the body gave me the opportunity to make the case. This whole experience was a valuable lesson in both preparation and proper presentation.
After that drama was over, I got word that the Unemployment Insurance bill my colleague in the Senate was running would be mentioned by Governor Herbert in his State of the State address. Sure enough, my name was mentioned as a sponsor. You can see that clip below:
That was a nice gesture and I am sure it will help the prospects for SB 129. I already have many of my colleagues wanting to co-sponsor the bill.
Thumb Screws 101
Another interesting experience I had this week was watching some of my colleagues take an interest in an issue I took up in HB58. When HB58 failed in committee on Monday, I thought the issue was dead and I would move on. Not so. One of my colleagues was in negotiations with the parties who opposed my bill while dealing with a bill of his own. However, unlike my bill, my colleague was working as their advocate in his bill. Nevertheless, as their advocate, my colleague expressed his extreme displeasure with their treatment of my bill and began negotiating the introduction of its provisions into the bill he was writing. The dynamics of the negotiation were captivating to watch. I am unsure if they have concluded so I will have more information on the results of the wrestling match next week.