Monday, April 13, 2009

House fun and games, (Re)Budgeting, etc.

Last week in the state legislature, the Senate hacked and slashed the budget that the House had approved, and also took big slashes to House Bill 645, the federal recovery money allocations. So this week, the Senate amendments--more than 50--will come back to the House for concurrence. I expect we in the House will not concur, since the budgets of our public schools, public services, voter-approved Children's Health Insurance Program, and other services were cut. Most likely, the budget bills will go to conference committees, seven legislators (four representatives, three senators) to wrangle over. But all of us will be involved, since the budget touches all of our families, our friends, neighbors, cities and towns and counties and school districts.

So the budget will be returned to the House, and we'll make it right. Again.

Last week was the 18th Annual House versus Senate basketball game, a benefit for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The House of Representatives fielded a talented, tall, and youthful team, compared to that of the geriatric Senate. We also had a secret weapon: for our team shirts, we ordered referees' jerseys! Nice! The House won the game to lead the series 10-8. All proceeds go to BB/BS, and for months preceding the game, we take up collections in the House for "bribe" money with which to buy key plays, fouls, time on the clock, whatever.

Favorite quote from the game: "We bought this game, fair and square!" --Janna Taylor, holder of the bribe money for the House.

This week, five of my bills were enrolled (passed by both chambers, the House and Senate, and returned for signatures of the sponsor, me, the Speaker of the House, and the President of the Senate) and on their way to the Governor's desk for his signature. Last session, the enrolled legislation coming my way started earlier, but it was amazing to have five bills in green folders this week. Nice.

Two new additions to the House family: Pat Noonan's newborn baby daughter (here he is with the pile o' baby gifts at his pink-decorated desk) and Chuck Hunters nine-week-old new puppy, Rocky, a Golden Doodle who came home Tuesday night. Chuck reported on Wednesday that Rocky's first night home had been really pretty good; no whimpering or unsettled puppy activity, and Rocky only peed on the carpet once. Good boy, Rocky!

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