Friday, January 06, 2006

Before the Storm

I’m told that the peaceful days are over. Next Monday will be the start of the 60th legislative session in Washington State, and will be the beginning of an interesting and hectic (?) time.

This past week has been crammed with training courses, lectures and media presentations with the intent on better equipping the legislative staff. The courses are well intentioned but some of the stuff is just a waste of time. Take, for instance, the hour long course on how to send an email, or the four hour session on ethics (which was mainly about how staff cannot lobby for their member, why we can’t accept gives over $50 dollars from lobbyists, and why sexual harassment will get you fired [!}).

There is usually a personal supporting staff of about three people per Senator. First there is the Legislative Assistant, which is here year round to respond to constituents, then there is the intern, which is here during the session for college credit, and then the is the session aid (usually college grads), whose is also here for the session, and whose job it is to take calls, greet constituents (the voters), and conduct other such supportive activities.

The last few days of the week I have been more involved in the office. My responsibilities now include sifting through the snail mail, responding to calls for the Senator from the State Hotline, answering the office phone, and tracking constituent opinions.

Tonight, the Senate and House will be hosting a casual reception to welcome new staff and interns to the 2006 session. Aside from getting “free pizza, beverages, music, and fun” the purpose seems to be a chance to try and meet all of the Senate and House staff “before the storm”.

Next time I log in, I will address any interesting events in tonight’s get-together, as well as talk about the legislation we will be pushing this session (some really good stuff). By the way, I have been asked by the LA (Legislative Assistant) to think of a bill of ny own, which will then be given to the Senator and most likley presented to the legislative process. If you have any ideas on a new law or "anti" law then drop a comment.

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