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A staffer's view of the Legislative session

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By Robert Gibson

I served many of my eight years on County Council as a member of its state legislative committee. In that role, I frequently visited with elected legislators in both House and Senate, lobbyists, and staff.
It was a close-up view of the legislature from the “outside.” This year, I had the opportunity to view the legislature from the “inside” as a staff member, an analyst for the House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee (HRPAC).
It was illuminating, although there were few surprises.
The basic job of legislative analysts is to study bills and provide a synopsis, the “CliffsNotes” version, to legislators.
We look at intent and actual effects, issues raised, costs (in the broad sense, not just dollars), conflicts with existing statutes, technical issues, etc.
HRPAC was a great assignment.
The wide range of legislation referred to it included major bills on minimum wage, state lottery, taxes and abortion issues to not-so-major ones (all important to someone) on, for example, barber licensing and special license plates.
Many were in between, updating laws on lobbyists, various types of medical professionals, telephone service charges, alcohol sales, sex offenders, hunting and fishing licenses, etc., etc.


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