Tim Goodwin’s Legislative Week Seven
February 27, 2017
Whew! This last week included Crossover Day. What that means is that all House bills that passed through committee have to be heard on the House floor by midnight, Feb. 23. After Crossover Day, we tackle all Senate bills that passed in the Senate chamber, and the Senate does the same with House bills that passed the House of Representatives.
We started Session at 1pm and worked until 9:10pm. It was a long day. Before 1pm, we had committee meetings and caucuses to work. In my opinion, this day is a total set-up. The bills are thrown at us with little time to debate, with machine gun style rattling the thought processes, intended to convince us to vote the way they want us to. I say this because we had many days when we were in session less than 2 hours.
We conservative republicans met separately and discussed bills, had our sheets and positions done, before session started. We felt well read on issues and we weren’t rattled by this hurry, hurry, “no time” political stunt.
Here is an example of just one bill: HB1209 Authorize Sale of STAR Academy. This bill was defeated, then through political maneuvering, there is a procedure in which a bill can be brought back one more time. This happened around 4pm. The procedure to bring the bill back passed.
After that happened, my emails lit up as did my phone. I had voted against authorizing the sale, as I wasn’t convinced the STAR Academy should have been closed in the first place. With it’s closure, there isn’t a place for these troubled youth to go to get a second chance.
So…I visited with the Custer mayor and played email tag with Chamber and Economic Development folks from the city of Custer. They ALL recommended that I change my vote to yea, and get as many of my fellow representatives to go along with me. Their convincing argument was that it is just sitting empty, so let’s sell it and get it back on the tax roles for the county. Once sold, a new buyer will bring much needed jobs to the community.
Now, as this is taking place, bill after bill is being debated on the floor. I was also receiving emails and calls from many other constituents on the bills that were a priority to them. Side note that my desk is next to an exit door, so I could slip out and talk to the essential callers at the same time I listen to debate on the floor and run back in to vote. Weighing this argument to sell STAR Academy, I worked the floor to get as many as possible to switch their votes as well. Once the HB1209 came up the second time, I entered the debate, telling them about my phone and email discussions with the leaders from the city of Custer. The end result was that the STAR Academy sale passed 46 yea – 21 nay! Earlier it was defeated 31 yea – 36 nay. Whew!
Tim Goodwin, Representative, District 30