Last year, my first year as a new legislator, I was told a lot about drinking from the fire hose. At first, I thought that was some way of scaring the new guy. They were doing their best to get my mind around what was about to happen, and they were right.
Year 2 is different. I have a better idea of what’s coming, but that still doesn’t completely prepare for the speed things are ramping up. Early in the session, we really get to see the committees shine. The importance of the committee process can never be overstated. This is the area where you the public may come in and testify to legislators your opinion of these bills we are considering, and there is much to hear and learn. Committees do the lion’s share of any legislature’s heavy lifting, and we work very had to make sure everyone is heard.
This week, the House Commerce and Energy Committee will hear some very contentious and long-winded bills. (We call those “talkers”) I’d be willing to guess that HB 1067 will fill up one entire two hour committee hearing, while our same committee handled 5 bills in under an hour on Wednesday. It all boils down to the process. The process is what keeps year to year politics or personalities from closing down your ability to have your voice directly heard, and we look forward to hearing it.
In case you’re curious, HB 1067 is the medical insurance bill that is seen as potentially interfering with the 2014 Initiated Measure 17, the patient choice medical insurance measure. That will be an impassioned hearing, and there will be many stories to hear, and then our committee will determine the correct determination of the bill based on the testimony.
I would like to thank Michael Cutshaw of Clear Lake for his service as a House Page this term. He came out here for the first two weeks of our session and did a wonderful job, and you can all be proud of this excellent young man. I was proud to sponsor him, and glad to get to serve with him the past two weeks. If you are going to be a junior or senior next school year and would like to serve as a House page, check out the page information online at legis.sd.gov
Thanks for the opportunity to serve you in Pierre, and if you’d like to share your thoughts with me, please email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org