Yesterday, I finally testified on a bill...not bad since we're about six weeks into session!
"My" bill was first on the agenda, but was authored by the Committee Chairman. Other lobbyists working on the same bill and I had been told that our bill would be called first. Too bad that wasn't the case.
We got in there and the Chairman wanted to hear from an out-of-state group who had come in to make a presentation on a product/issue the Chairman thought was interesting. That took about 30 minutes (the meeting started at 9 a.m.). Next, the Chairman called on another Senator who was not on the Committee, but who was waiting in the audience to present his bill. Then, another Senator was called...and so on. You get the picture.
I don't recall exactly how many bills were on the agenda for the committee, but I think there were probably 8-10 bills. The meeting started at 9, but the Senate goes into session around 1 or 1:30 most days and they generally like to grab something to eat after committees, but before session. So you're basically talking about a three hour window.
Next week is pretty much the deadline for bills to be out of committee in their house of origin, so we're getting down to crunch time.
I don't mind waiting, but the debate on the animal cruelty bill revolving around whether killing/eating a fish from your neighbor's pond constituted the cruelty definition in the bill grew a bit frustrating, but that's what happens when most of the committee members are attorneys.
It's quite fascinating to watch. Maybe it's just an Indiana-phenomenon, but I doubt it. The attorney legislators like to come up with scenarios where the bill has problems. Generally speaking that is a great thing, but sometimes, I think they get caught up in the moment. I suppose there could be a situation where someone has a pet catfish in their backyard pond and a neighbor sneaks onto the property, catches the fish, then eats it...but after sitting through a few hours of debate, I couldn't help but chuckle at the whole thing.
Finally, the one other thing that amused me, was the facebook update by a lobbyist sitting right in front of me was how much they were displeased at sitting through another long committee meeting. I guess I wasn't the only one whose mind was drifting during the meeting.