The Senate debated renewal of the Forever Wild Program. Readers may recall my editorial on Forever Wild from a few weeks ago (linked here). My position has not changed. I continue to receive numerous emails on this issue, from both sides of the vote. Readers may not realize that the Republican Caucus is strongly divided on this issue. For example, today the republicans opposed to the bill filibustered the bill for several hours until a procedural call forced the Senate to adjourn until tomorrow. We’re filibustering our own bill…I’m new here but my honest opinion is that we are spending far too much political capital, against each other, on this issue. I maintain that the best course of action is to create an opportunity for the people, state wide, to vote on the issue as was done 20 years ago; support for this option is rapidly growing.
I later attended a joint Senate and House Republican Caucus lunch meeting and then attended the reapportionment committee meeting where we hammered out guidelines for public hearings. The public hearing for the 5th Congressional District will be held on Monday, May 9th at 6:30 PM at the VBC. Note, this meeting was previously announced for Tuesday at noon. I contended that a noon meeting in the middle of the work week was counterproductive to our goal of encouraging maximum public attendance. Please plan to attend the meeting and share your thoughts on redistricting of the 5th Congressional District based on the 2010 Census data.
On another note, today I received word that Congressman Brooks will hold Town Hall meetings in two areas of Senate District 2 on Saturday, May 7th. These meetings will focus on disaster relief with members of FEAM and the Small Business Administration present to answer public questions. The first meeting will be held at 11:30 at the Monrovia Community Center. The second meeting will be held at 2:30 at the Tanner High School. I plan to attend both meetings.
Tomorrow morning I will chair the monthly Joint Contract Review meeting at 0830. The Senate goes back into session at 1030. We have several items to finish up – including final action on a bill addressing the current school year.
Both the House and Senate will recess later tomorrow, allowing those of us on the reapportionment committee to focus on town hall meetings and other reapportionment work for a couple of weeks. We will reconvene the last week of May, meeting through the final days of May and into early June before adjourning for the 2011 session. We have a lot of work before us and my hope is that we can put aside our differences, capping an already productive session by passing important legislation that is making its way through the legislative process.