Legislative Page

James, Writer

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Over the past two weeks I have been a legislative page at the capitol in in Pierre. While I was there I did a variety of different things. One of the things that I did was sit in on the appropriations committee. What they do is discuss the budget of the past year and make a new budget for the current year. It was during this committee meeting that I learned a few interesting things.

We started each day by going to the capitol at 7:00 am and getting all of the mail organized. Then pages each go off to their respective committee meetings that they are sitting in for the day. During the meetings, pages are responsible for doing anything that the legislators need. The things required could be anything from making coffee to copying and passing out papers. After the meetings, pages pass out the mail in the mail room to the legislators. After a short lunch break, session starts and the pages sit at the front of the session and wait for legislators to ask for something. The last thing that the pages do is pass out the calendars for the next day.

A big topic that they talked about was the loss of pheasants in the past year. Due to the small bird numbers this year, the money that states make selling licenses took a big hit. It also had an impact on tourists coming into the state to hunt the birds. With all of the losses in revenue, the question was asked, “What is making the pheasants population drop so much?” The answer that was given is as follows: “Due to the increasing loss of habitat along with the foods that the birds eat for water has made the survival rate for the chicks very low. This low survival rate is why there are fewer birds around.”

The kinds of things that the legislatures have to discuss are extremely varied. This loss of birds is also only one of many topics that they talked about. There were many others from the opening of new camping sites in the Black Hills to putting nukes in Ellsworth Air Forces Base. Now imagine making decisions for all of these different things in just one meeting! It was a great learning experience.

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Legislative Page