Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Transmittal Week

It's the second day of Transmittal Week, in which the Senate and House of Representatives hear every bill from their respective committees in floor debate. On regular days, we have morning meetings from 8 til noon, then call to order in our chambers at 1 p.m. and usually hear two hours of floor debate; afternoon committee hearings go from 3 til about 7. But this week, we're in floor sessions from morning til night in order to debate all of the bills referred to the assembly from legislative committees. Besides the regular debate on the floor on every referred bill, there are blast motions to bring tabled bills from committee.

It's 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, and we were in session from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. last night. It's hard work, but it's entirely worthwhile, pertinent, and important to all of us in Montana. We hear debate on all sorts of topics. Bills brought to the legislature propose laws for medical providers to dispense prescription medications if a pharmacy is far away, laws for public notice of proposed oil and natural gas leases on state lands sections, laws for subdivision laws for cities and counties, for wildfire emergencies, for work comp coverage of firefighters' diseases and illnesses contracted in the course of their work as emergency responders, for public participation in air quality permits of power plants, all manner of issues. I work hard on our state policy and I'm sensitive to the fact that we're making state law that applies to everyone. I'm truly honored to serve as your state representative.

Some highlights of the past few days:

Denise Juneau, the newly-elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, delivered her State of Education address to a joint session of the Montana Legislature last week.

Dad sent me a care package of chocolates (Whitman's
Sampler), which was eagerly consumed by my fellow legislators and myself, some mints, and some candy necklaces (here, worn by Teresa Henry when she was presenting a bill on the floor of the House today). I wore mine for a while, then ate it. I love candy necklaces. I buy them for my nieces all the time.

Jill Cohenour and me after my marathon this morning, presenting four bills on the floor of the House. They all passed
second reading after debate!

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