At one of the High Schools in our district, there was a sign that reads ‘CHARACTER IS DOING THE RIGHT THING EVEN WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING”. I like that sign. I saw it once, and I’ll never forget it. I assume that the converse of that statement on the sign is also true. Character is doing the right thing even when Everyone is watching. Last Thursday, House Bill 1182 came up to a vote, and we did exactly that. As a flurry of amendments were delivered on our desks, we effectively called for a “time out”.
Rep. Gosch’s amendment to remove the emergency clause failed. Rep. Partridge introduced his amendment–a very clever and well written amendment that will automatically remove the sales tax increase if streamlined sales tax is ever approved by the Court or Congress. As I always do, I kept my red rule book handy so that if I feel it necessary to speak on a bill, I have the proper words to say. I heard Rep. Stalzer invoke rule 5-17, a rule that requires an intervening legislative day to read and study all amendments. I immediately thought two things. 1. This will not sit well with this audience. 2. This will give everyone time to read and vet the amendments, and give the Speaker time to decide the germaneness of the amendments to the original intent of the bill. I stood. I believe we did the right thing invoking rule 5-17, and I’d do it again. (Rumor is it will happen again, if you can believe what you read on the internet) HB 1182 is a massive tax increase, and after other debacles with education funding, i.e. video lottery, I want to make 100% sure that we get this right and that teachers actually see the money. Again, I don’t believe in tax increases. I will always seek all the alternatives before I agree to a tax increase, and really want to make sure we don’t get sucked up in the moment and watch the money blow by the teachers again. That’s what really happened, and why it happened. The world didn’t end and the bill is still very much alive. We will get a germaneness ruling on the amendments and have them all read and ready Tuesday morning. If 5-17 is invoked again for its final opportunity on Tuesday, final action on the bill must take place Thursday.
We actually did other things last week. HB 1067 (the IM17 patient’s choice bill, as it was called) was sent to the 41st day in the House Commerce and Energy committee, and both the House and Senate endorsed my Joint Resolution HCR1005 requesting the EPA to change its clean power plan, and allow our power plants to continue normal operations. The Supreme Court put the plan on a temporary hold, and unfortunately the Court lost it’s conscience–Justice Antonin Scalia–over the weekend.
Thanks for the opportunity to serve you in Pierre. Email me anytime firstname.lastname@example.org