A big part of the whole scheme with making laws is relationships. Lawmaker to Lawmaker, Lobbyist to Lawmaker and Lobbyist to Lobbyist are amongst them. Throw in those from the Executive branch and staff and pretty soon there are a lot of people to know and get along with if one is determined to be friendly. Not all take that path, but generally it is acknowledged that one gets more with honey than vinegar. Along that line of thinking, three members of the Soybean Growers board drove out Tuesday to attend the two standing agriculture committee parties. Our Legislative Director accompanied two board members to the House version after stopping to visit with the Senate version. I was with the other at the Senate version. These parties are held for each committee to wrap up the session and, while it may be way too “inside baseball” for most readers, these have become standard operating procedure for legislators and maybe gives you a flavor for what goes on around here this time of year.
Back in the Capitol, this is when some legislators are getting done with their committee work and have to fill their days with observation of other committees. Slowly now, the policy committees are reaching agreement or grudgingly compromising so that the bill language agrees and they can become law. Appropriations have the lingering issues for the most part because they deal with the budgets. There are sleight of hand shenanigans being pulled whereby days when everyone is working are not being counted as official legislative days – there have been at least two of those so far- and we are on Day 66 now on Thursday.
One of the committees I sat in on this morning was the PSC budget where the ramifications of 1126, that elevator bill, have confused the committee working on the budget. Also, a study was brought in today to study transferring the responsibilities of elevator inspection and maybe insolvencies to the Dept. of Agriculture. No conclusions on that yet. Yesterday I also sat in on the DOT budget Conference committee where they were discussing what to do about the licensing and maintenance shops of the eight or so affected areas. Nothing definitive yet. At this stage, both houses are hammering into session at 8 a.m. and 1pm.