Murphy’s Law 2021 #35 – Posting Bill and Political Equations

April 16, 2021

SB2144 is the bill that brings forward the agreement reached by the Interim committee. It seems best practice that a Legislature simply accept bills crafted over an interim by all parties, but it rarely is the case. As a legislator said to me this morning, “You have to give input if you really think it is right.” And of course, one must. But it really messes things up when that type of intervention happens late in the process as it is now. In fact, one can count on it. Currently it is occurring in SB2144 whereby the bill says a penalty for crossing a fence (if not a licensed hunter or fisherman) can be charged with an A misdemeanor. But then another lawmaker says that a $3,000 fine and up to one year in jail is a bit stiff for being inside a fence. Make it a B misdemeanor for first offense, and then go to A. Of course, there are all sorts of different details and questions then, but here is the basic question for proponents of the original bill; Is it worth losing the entire agreement over this tweak, or better to give that and move forward with the bulk of the bill intact? That is playing out now with this and other bills such as HB1437, the subsurface water management proposal.
What happens is that those invested with such long and difficult efforts to arrive at compromise in the Interim can often find it very difficult to give in to the degree necessary. They rightfully take ownership and are proud of their achievement. But now the political equation has changed with the intrusion of others. So political problems of this sort include relationships and personalities which often supersede practicality. This is the core of our problems during Conference Committees, to say nothing of Senate versus House sentimentalities. Humanoids are complex creatures whose finer and lesser points are enlarged in the pressure cooker that is the legislative process on Day 67.