I headed to Montgomery a little after 7 this morning, arriving around 10. I’ll admit, the three hour drive back and forth is starting to feel like “ground-hog day”. Seems like just yesterday I was on the road… again!
I had a couple of meetings this morning before we had the weekly caucus meeting at noon. Our caucus meeting was a little longer than usual as we strategized for the remainder of the session. We are already nearing the half-way point.
The Senate went into session at 3 PM. The Senate adjourned just before 6 PM…three whole hours. I’d have to close a business if I ran it this way. The problem is the Democrats are upset about some procedural areas and feel that their bills are not getting fair treatment in committees. It is news to me if that is the case. I serve on 8 committees, chairing one, and have seen no evidence of Republicans blocking bills. Now, I’m new to Montgomery but I also know that the Democrats controlled the legislature for decades and blocked many a bill that Republicans wanted moved. But – back to today’s session.
A great bill was introduced for debate that would close the 7 remaining gas chambers used by county animal control departments to euthanize shelter animals…tragic that our state ever allowed this. The Democrats decided to filibuster this bill and we listened to one of them discuss their dog, the breed (a Pikachu named Puffy for those that care) how they came about selecting the pet, etc, etc, etc. At one point I requested a point of order in that what the speaker was talking about must be “germane” to the bill being debated. And unless he was planning to gas poor puffy, I saw no connection to the bill being debated. This got them back on track for 20 minutes or so. Of note, you can listen to a live audio feed of the session at the Legislative Website. Or, if you don’t have time to listen live, the recorded version is archived at Doc’s Political Parlor and Home of Lawn Mower Repair. This is a great website and I recommend checking it out. I note they are a little behind on loading the archived recordings…give them time and remember to listen to today’s time wasting session – then ask yourself if you’d close up shop if business was done this way. Hopefully Thursday will be a better day.
Tomorrow is committee day and as usual I have several committee meetings stacked up; a total of six in all. Two most interesting bills in committee tomorrow include SB196 (Child Custody) and a public hearing on SB310 (Tenure Reform). I’m fortunate to serve on both committees concerning these bills and look forward to the continued debate. I suspect both will receive amendments during the committee meetings tomorrow. I’ll spend the remainder of this evening reviewing bills for committee and visiting members of the House on the 5th floor as they debate the Education Budget long into the evening.
I continue to sleep in my office while in Montgomery. I’ve not stayed in a hotel since the organizational session back in January. With the price of gas I don't see me doing so either. I’ve got a routine down and find it easier to stay focused on legislation when I stay here. The janitorial and security staffs are getting used to having me around late at night and early in the mornings. I sometimes lose track of time, staying up past midnight reading and studying legislation…all in a day’s work living the high-life here Montgomery! Thank you for sending me here to serve.