Wednesday, March 08, 2006

MIG 2006 Part 3

BOMBERS ON THEIR WAY TO STATE! Macomb High beat Riverton High last night 44-29 in the WIU Supersectional to advance to the state tourney. I can’t gloat too much at work today because Riverton is the home to many state employees. We have 3 more games to go. Good Luck Bombers!

I went with the Speaker’s staff to the Capitol on Saturday morning. I left the Governor in the capable hands of Deputy Dawg. He didn’t have to do anything until the afternoon and I wanted to get over to the Capitol. It doesn’t matter how many times I step on the House or Senate floors, there is still a feeling of excitement. I doubt it would go away if I were elected to the General Assembly.

The morning went by quickly. I was in both chambers to listen to the debate. House debate was far better again this year. As a former Senate Majority Leader, that was disappointing to me. It’s not because McFarland didn’t bust his rump to make the Senate run well because that’s not the case. It was the Senate’s fault. With a few exceptions, it was lackluster. I tagged along with Speaker K, Kovats and Shana for lunch with the House leadership. Whatever the leadership talked about at lunch (I was at another table not paying attention) must have worked because things got more interesting in the afternoon.

By the afternoon, I was feeling the urge to play senator again. McFarland had an OL banning smoking in public buildings in the Senate and he was going to take the floor. I figured why not make this debate fun. I asked the Senate GOP Leader if I could take over the caucus for the bill. He agreed and I had ten minutes to prepare for the debate. I booted Senator Martin from EIU out of his seat (my seat the year I was Majority Leader) and sat down for a minute to get ready. Any delegate who played a legislator knows that it never goes away. Sitting in a chair gets the blood flowing. I was ready.

Everything was running smoothly. Hughes got thrown out of the Senate for acting stupid as planned. Kovats said some stupid stuff, upsetting the acting President as planned. The GOP senators attacked the bill. I had the infamous B-Unit and Vetter (Democrat senators) crossing over to speak against the bill. I had the bill defeated until closing arguments. McFarland explained that he wrote the bill because his father has lung cancer. If that wasn’t bad enough, he started to cry. Whatever momentum I had was gone.

I had to follow that. Regardless of what I said, I’d looked like a jackass if I went negative. I thank Mr. McFarland for his service in the military and let Martin talk about addiction. When I got the time back, I turned it back over to the Minority Leader (the bill was about to be voted on). It passed, but I had my fun. I didn’t know that the fun would continue.

Shana’s mother came down, so I took over as Clerk for a few minutes. The parties were caucusing, so there wasn’t anything to do. The Democrats came back when time expired, but the GOP was still in caucus. Speaker K rang the bell, no one showed up. Another bell. Still nothing. Speaker K had me read the bill and Patton called the question. Republicans came in confused as to why Speaker K was asking for the nays, but pushed their buttons out of habit. Dumb move! The 12 GOP nay votes showed that a quorum was present. The bill passed and the GOP staged a walkout to protest. Fun stuff!

After floor sessions, we went back to the Hilton too tired to move. We ordered Chinese and set out to the Candidates Forum and Governor’s Ball. I went to bed a little after 1 AM.


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