Legislative intern for Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake
This week has been a short, intense week! When I say short, I mean it flew by really fast; it makes me realize how short a 45 day session really is. When I say intense, I mean it was an interesting and stressful week. As you know, I am interning for two legislators. Well, one of my legislators has had two bills fail already. It is amazing at the ability legislators have to bounce back from these losses, because they are there to represent their constituents.
In order for a bill to become a law, there is a very specific process it must go through. First, it has to originate from either the House or the Senate. After being numbered and being passed in one chamber, it has to go to the opposite chamber and pass before it can be moved to the governor’s office. The legislative process is very complicated. There are currently more than 300 active and numbered bills in the house; in order to make sure every bill is heard in its entirety, it has to be read three times. One of those times is when the bill is gone through very specifically; this is during standing committee time. A standing committee is a smaller unit of the legislative body that deals with a specific topic. In the house, it usually holds between 9 and 15 legislators.
As I previously mentioned, one of my legislators had a bill fail this week in a standing committee. First, I realized that the subject of controversy changes from place to place. It never crossed my mind that this bill would be considered controversial, but it was and there was a huge turnout of people. I was surprised at how many people actually took the time out of their day to come to either support or go against the bill. Yet again, this is another part of the legislative process that I think is quite amazing. During standing committee time, there is a specific time that is allotted to members of the community to give their opinions on any and every bill. This is yet another part of the legislative process that people are giving direct access to. An individual does not have to be an expert on the topic at all; they usually just have experiences dealing with the bill. This is something that everyone should take full advantage because their name goes down in record as either supporting or opposing a bill. This internship is an excellent opportunity for me to observe the legislative process up close and personal.