Saturday, February 28, 2009

Helping Morticians and Barbers?

This week, I was the floor sponsor for House Bills 88 and 89. One might wonder why I carried the bills on behalf of the Board of Morticians (88) and the Board of Barbers (89). I can hear constituents asking: "With all the needs our state is facing, why is Cronin spending time working on legislation for those whose job it is to groom us (in life and in death)?"

The simple answer is practice--having the opportunity to sponsor bills on the House floor that were brought to our committee by folks other than legislators (in this case, the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licensing).

A committee's chairman, upon a majority of the committee voting to send the bill to the full House with a "do pass" recommendation, will assign this so-called committee bill (which up until that point was sponsored by someone not in the Legislature) to one of the committee members.

I was advised by a former legislator to indicate to my chairman (in this case Rep. Max Black, Chairman of the Business Committee) that I would like to be the floor sponsor for a committee bill. My big break came last week and the committee had a good chuckle over assigning these bills to me. It looked like I might even get a third, on behalf of geologists, but instead the Chairman picked on some of the other freshmen.

On Thursday, I stood up and presented the case to the full House for why morticians in training might be granted, under extenuating circumstances (such as military deployment), an extension beyond the standard two years to complete their internship. The bill passed the House on a 63-0 vote.

I then got up moments later to lay out the reasons for why we should grant inmates the right to give other inmates a haircut without possessing a barber's license. No questions, no debate, and HB89 sailed through on a 63-0 vote.

Yes, there are many jokes to be made (feel free to comment). And no, it's certainly not how I envisioned my life as a legislator. But I have no complaints. With each day I'm learning more about this complex and fascinating process of lawmaking.

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