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Perspective: Life at the Capitol

Perspective: Life at the Capitol

May 12th, 2019 in Opinion

When I first drafted my article for the paper this week, I vented my frustrations with the system here, but I then realized that I am part of the system. I chose to be here; I want to be here. I think it is a privilege to be here, and it is my job to try to change things. I’m not sure how much I can change or what all can be changed, but rest assured nobody would run a business in the manner which our Capitol is run. But that is what our democracy is about. Running a business is not a democracy, being elected is to carry forth the role that we were elected to do. As we have been told many times: If you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, get out.

Some bills we hear are fairly interesting; we received a bill in committee which had already passed the Senate that allowed for outside cremations. This leaves a lot to the imagination: i.e. brush fire, what materials can be used, etc. Have no fear; it will be supervised by a funeral home director. The rules and regulations will be developed to address the bill when it’s passed.

We have been very successful in renaming highways, creating special days such as a “Sliced Bread Day,” but we have not resolved several bills that I think should have a little more of a priority such as Confined Animal Feeding Operations, initiative petitions, prescription drug monitoring, abortion legislation, Title IX legislation and many bills, some of which I have talked about in the past. They all seem to be at a standstill, but I have been assured they will move.

Between the House and Senate this year, there were approximately 1,950 pieces of legislation filed. Total bills agreed upon by both chambers were 16 as of Wednesday. Hopefully, during the next seven days, we will address many good bills and not add too many not so good amendments. Hopefully, for my next article, I will be able to give you a list of bills that have been passed, which I think will be beneficial for the state. Our government is like any other entity — it is changing. In changing, it requires attention, a change of rules — that is our responsibility, and I am hopeful I will be able to show you some very good bills that have passed. There are also many bills that will go through which are not so glamorous but they help with the day to day operations of state agencies. You should take great comfort in knowing we will not pass 1,950 pieces of legislation.

That’s enough for my frustrations.

Now on a brighter side: We have had numerous classes, groups and other people come through the Capitol this last couple of weeks, and it brings peace of mind to see so many people interested in our government. These are people who I believe will be future leaders.

Over the last several months, I have also gained a much greater appreciation for the work our state employees do. There is not a rush out the door at 5 p.m. If something is needed, I have seen many workers here at the Capitol staying until 10, 11, 12 o’clock at night. I’ve seen them run to get bills redrafted and amendments drafted and brought to the floor. I’ve seen them bring food in from their own homes to welcome guests at the Capitol and create a great atmosphere here. I’ve had tech people give me advice without rolling their eyes or shaking their head; I’ve had research staff to politely point out some of the things I want done just weren’t going to happen and probably couldn’t happen.

State Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Jefferson City, represents the 59th District, and shares his perspective on statehouse issues twice a month.