Montana Legislature, Day 87, 8:30 a.m.

There are surprises every day at the Montana Capitol, but some are more dramatic than others. This morning, there's a lovely mule tethered to a pine tree outside the House chambers on the west side of the building. Its presence prompted any number of responses.

I said, "My ride's here!" and "Well, it IS the Montana capitol."

Others thought we should send some security officers down to guard it, since Representative Butcher sponsored a bill for a horse slaughter facility.

Just now, Jesse the Mule was introduced on the House floor! (He's not ON the House floor, just introduced.)

Also, there are moments that are so familiar as to color the rest of our actions wherever we go: every morning, we have an invocation at the start of the session and then recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Immediately following that, the Speaker of the House directs the Chief Clerk to take the roll.

So now, most of us, whenever we recite the Pledge, will be tempted to end it thus: "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. The Clerk will take the roll."

And yesterday, the sunshine in the House chamber was so bright, Michele Reinhart had to wear shades.

Here I am, with another enrolled bill. Nice.

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