Our legislature is about process. Analogies to producing products, such as writing a computer program, making furniture, or creating and serving a restaurant meal don’t work. That figures.
The legislature is a big committee consisting of somewhat smaller, but still sizeable committees — the 70-member House and the 42-member Senate. The two chambers in turn break into smaller committees with overlapping membership. Party membership creates two other committees overlaying everything else.
“The Legislature’s primary job (is) development of the state’s budget,” the Legislative Council Service reminds us in “Highlights 2013,” its policy summary of what is properly called the 51st Legislature, First Session, 2013. The 2013 session was limited to 60 days. Any topic could be considered.
A session of the legislature has two other functions, both outside the scope of the LCS summary.
First, the session provides a forum for focusing public attention on the issues of the day. The issues may be substantive, such as gay marriage, or silly, such as the Senate Rules Committee not voting to confirm (or dump) Hanna Skandera as Secretary of the Department of Public Education.