This session has probably been the busiest one in the years I have served in the Legislature. The sub-committee meeting lists are many, and the time spent in those meetings is long and sometimes tedious, but they do serve to reduce the amount of time necessary to present a bill in the standing committee and limits the debate on the floor. In-depth, bi-partisan work on a bill pays off in the long term. This has been the pattern for most of the committee work this year.
A good example of such teamwork was the Telecommunication Deregulation Bill, which was passed out of Commerce Committee last week. This bill was quite controversial, but with excellent cooperation on the sub-committee and input allowed from all concerned constituencies, the bill passed on the floor with a minimum of debate and overwhelming support.The room was packed this week when the Human Resource Committee met to discuss the possible over-regulation of assisted living facilities in the state. We heard testimony from residents, staff, and management concerning the fear that they will be regulated to the same degree as residential care centers and will lose the "independence" for which they were created.
Our Natural Resources Committee is still up to our necks in deer-related issues with several sub-committees working on various issues to reduce the doe population in the State. We hope to pass the Boat Registration Bill out of committee next week, which will help to put more enforcement personnel and equipment on our lakes, as well as allow for some more enforcement and control of invasive species. Last year the DNR identified Eurasian milfoil in eight bodies of water in the State and was able to start the process of eradication process in a timely manner. There are new varieties of invasive species entering the State every year in both plant and animal form. One of the more entertaining segments of the DNR presentation on invasive species shows the flying carp, which literally jump over boats.