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End of the Legislative Session Like "Meteors Coming At You"

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, August 29, 2011

The soundtrack at the Capitol over the next couple of weeks will include a lot of this:

"All members vote who desire to vote, all members vote who desire to vote."

Lawmakers typically meet twice a week in session - sometimes for a fairly brief time.  But with hundreds of bills on the agenda, both houses will meet every day of the work week, and some of those days will be pretty long.  Republican Senator Tony Strickland says it reminds him of another frantic time in his life:

Strickland:"It's sort of like uh, college, when you haven't done a term paper or you haven't done studying for your finals and you have to cram at the end, the very end, it's almost the same thing" 

Steinberg: "It is like 50 to 100 meteors coming at you at one time, every day, constantly."

That's Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.  As the Leader of the Senate, his job includes corralling votes and dealing with conflicts over legislation:

Steinberg: "What occurs on the floor and all the deals you're trying to bring together, uh, that have been worked on over the course of an entire year, sometimes for two years, it is the most intense part of the experience for me."

Republican Senator Doug La Malfa, who's a rice farmer, says it can be tough to keep up with all of the issues being debated in rapid-fire succession, but he downplays the long hours:

La Malfa: "It doesn't really faze me because I'm used to 12 or 14 hour days out on the tractor out on the fields, you know, where I come from, so if anybody wants to feel sorry for me and I go home whining about that I'm going to get laughed at by my friends at home who have to work real hard so - laughs - you're not going to hear that out of me."

Legislative session wraps up for the year September 9th.  Bills that are unresolved are likely to be taken up next year. 

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