Friday, February 13, 2009

Deadline For Floor Action Passes

Last night just before 9 p.m., the deadline passed for floor action on bills.

Because of the long voter ID debate on Wednesday, most everyone's bill moved to Thursday's calendar, which had many people, including myself, sweating on whether our legislation would have a chance to come up for a vote.

However, this proved to be an unexpected blessing. Because everyone had been then there so long, many members did not pick apart the minutiae of every bill. They listened for the high points, asked questions if there were any real concerns and let it go to the board for a vote. Because of that, four bills that I handled on the floor were spared being overly interrogated.

One trick I learned last year was to read all the bills on the calendar several days ahead of time. When you do that, you can mark how you want to vote on your calendar, leaving notes for yourself on questions you want to ask or putting question marks by bills you're not sure about. This also helps you when you are having to prep on bills you're presenting while debate on other bills is going on.

I was glad to see two bills finally clear the docket and move to the Senate. One was the Human Embryo Adoption Act (HB 561) that passed after only a few questions from the floor. The bill's author, Rep. Andy Gipson (R-Braxton) and I had poured through court cases in other states, run the bill by a few members for "grilling in advance" (thanks Angela) and had done hours of research to anticipate any possible question we might not be able to answer.

The other bill was the Athletic Trainer Bill (HB 640) that I was assigned in committee. It was one of those bills where several groups were initially opposed to, and the object was to try and take a bill and mold it to where everyone was happy. While not everyone completely got what they wanted, it was enough to get the bill through the House.

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