I haven’t gotten around to writing my last entry in this blog because every time I start to write it I can’t seem to make up my mind about what to say. However, this time I am going to just begin and see where I end up.
The last weeks of session were a combination of lighthearted fun and serious work. I practically lived in my office during the last two weeks of session to make sure everything was in order, graduation certificates were sent out, the Sine Die party was planned, and the office was ready for the next staff among other things.
We managed to pass one of our authored bills, House Bill 2851, relating to the deferral of certain surcharge payments for military personnel deployed outside of the continental United States.
The legislature as a whole passed 5,526 of the 10,315 filed bills and resolutions with a total of 24 vetoes as of June 22, 2011.
As expected, the legislature entered into a special session. Interestingly enough Gov. Perry called the special session immediately following Sine Die which has some interesting implications. Generally a special session won’t be called until around the second week of July, this ensures that the legislature can not override any vetoes by the Governor because they are not in session. However, due to the fact that a special session was called during the Governor’s approval and veto period, the legislature is able to override any vetoes with a 2/3 majority (if the Governor allows it to be on the schedule…).
Sine Die was fun. My office held a Christmas themed party with decorations, music, and holiday treats. Our hallway was themed with bad or silly bills however other hallways did everything from decades to countries and all of the staff got to mingle and celebrate the end of a very strenuous and eventful session.
The last day of session consists of corrections and resolutions. The majority of the day in session is therefore usually spent congratulating and recognizing staff. My office staff was recognized, my TLIP class was recognized, and I was recognized individually as well. HR 2722 is about me! (GPOY)
Leaving Austin was both a good and a bad thing. I enjoyed my time in Austin. I am a total nerd and I really enjoyed watching the goings on of the legislature while being a part of it as well. I networked, made connections, and made friends. I got to see thousands of teachers up in arms about education funding, the only Julliard bound senior in Texas perform in the Rotunda, teach a group of school kids about the history of the capitol and the echo in the rotunda, as well as a hundred other things that made my experience great.
I love learning and this was definitely a learning experience. Some days all I wanted to do was go home and get some sleep and others I was the energizer bunny. I learned hands-on how the system works not just in a formal and theoretical textbook manner but also in a contextual and tangible way. I filed bills, researched bills, used underground tunnels and staff-only entrances that made me feel like a secret agent, wrote constituent correspondence, met amazing and dedicated advocates, and so much more. It’s pretty difficult to put it all down on this page.
Granted, some days were slow and boring, sometimes the boss was in a bad mood, and every once and a while I didn’t want to go into work. However, most days I was just excited that a nerdy artsy only-political-involvement-was-as-a-school-newspaper-photographer self got to be involved in such an intense legislative session.
So, what do I do now?
Well, for one I kinda got a job because of my internship. Seems that my social butterfly networking skills paid off and though I will technically still be an intern by another name, it’s still pretty badass. Other than that I will continue to assist the Honorable Mallory Caraway’s staff with technology and newsletter production through the summer from home, take the GRE, attend Lamar University as a senior Graphic Design major in the Fall, apply to grad schools, and hopefully following my graduation be accepted and attend an awesome grad program. I don’t know where I’ll end up or why I’m on the path that I am but at least I know that I’m headed somewhere.
I’ve learned that I don’t have anything to prove anymore. My family is proud of me and so should I be.