My trip to the State Capitol

If you go to the State Capitol first of all you should know, its spelled “Capitol” not “Capital.” Last week, I received an email from one of Colorado’s House Representatives requesting that I please come down to the “Capital” to testify on behalf her bill. First I read said bill, which was very difficult, considering I don’t speak legalese. Second, I determined it was something I would support. Third, I googled said Representative to make sure she was not a complete nut, which she did not appear to be. Finally, I looked for directions to the Capital. But then Google kindly asked me if I meant the state Capitol… Um, yeah that’s exactly what I meant, thanks Google. I thought it looked weird, but I was just going by what the Representative’s email said and I took a leap in assuming that since she works there, she would know how it’s spelled.

If you’re wondering why this Representative emailed me, it’s because I had expressed my views via email on an entirely unrelated bill, which I won’t get into on my blog, because I’ve never been political on here before, or really in general, so why start now… except to say I don’t support an amendment to a rule that that would require all healthcare workers to receive the flu shot. I have yet to see a strong, peer-reviewed study that proves better patient outcomes in facilities where the majority of healthcare workers are vaccinated or one that proves no link between the flu vaccine and Guillan-Barre Syndrome . I have however read articles in peer reviewed medical journals finding no improvement in patient outcomes in facilities where most healthcare workers were vaccinated.

Anyway, my email led the Representative to believe I might support her bill, which would, as I understand it, require the state to directly inform persons who would be affected by new legislation about said legislation, well in advance of the public hearing.

Side note: The best way to review, or to understand in the first place, depending on your situation, although I won’t say which mine is, what you learned in middle school Social Studies, is to actually go to a hearing. It was everything you could want in a field trip, minus the school bus, eating a room temperature string cheese and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while sipping on a lukewarm Capri Sun in said school bus, and pretending you don’t care that your best friend pretended she never promised to sit next to you on the bus and sat with a popular girl instead. Actually, it was everything you want in a field trip, and nothing you don’t.

Once I got there, I saw big signs that said “Food and drink in cafeteria only.” I wish someone had told me they are crap, which is why I am telling you. The hearing I attended had more water bottles and travel mugs than iPads. Even the vice chair of the meeting was munching on Sun Chips during the meeting, in front of everyone, the kind that come in the dark blue bag, the original flavor, which is my favorite, just FYI.

Also, I wished someone had told me that if you want to blend in, wear black. If you don’t have anything black (I know, that doesn’t even make sense), navy blue or gray would also be safe. I guess if you are about 10 days away from your due date, you won’t blend in no matter what you wear, but I definitely would have worn something more muted if I had known. Not that my tan sweater was what you would call a crazy fashion statement (as if such a thing could even be found in the Target maternity section), but it appeared bright among the sea of dark hues in which I was seated.

And speaking of being seated- another thing I wish someone had told me is that you might be sitting for longer than you think if you go to one of these things. This hearing was scheduled to begin at 1:30. But so were two other hearings in this room. The one I came for was, of course, the last of the three. And even though I signed in first, the guy who signed in last got to testify before I did. Apparently the pregnant card was trumped by the farmer who drove all the way to the big city from four hours away card.

So while I was sitting through the other two hearings, I wished someone had mentioned that the thing to have is a laptop or an iPad, but not a regular spiral notebook and a pen. I might as well have brought a (stone) tablet and a rock. I did see another legal pad there, but it was on the lap of the woman who had on a pair of square-toed, chunky heeled, red plaid and black patent leather shoes that I would have absolutely died for ca. 1991; not exactly a style icon.

I was very thankful that prior to the hearing, while sitting in the ante room, a friendly lobbyist started chatting with me and, he assured me I should not be nervous. So in case you go and you don’t get to meet someone as gracious as my lobbyist friend, when it’s finally your turn to testify, don’t be nervous! The navy and black clad people are really nice. They know you are just a citizen who took the time to come out and contribute to our state’s law making-process, so they try and make you feel very comfortable and not like you are being interrogated. Also, they don’t know if you are in their district, and I suspect the last thing they would want is to lose your vote because they spoke harshly directly to you.

Do note, during your testimony, you can’t just talk. (This wasn’t as hard for me to deal with as you might think, surprisingly). Even if someone asks you a question right to your face, you need to wait until the Chair of the hearing says to you, “Ms. Moore?” If you want to be super polite, after waiting to be directly addressed by the Chair, before speaking, you say, “Mr. Chair…”

So, that’s what I learned from all of this. I would really like to attend the public hearing regarding the proposed flu shot rule changes, but I think this is going to be my last field trip for a while.

2 thoughts on “My trip to the State Capitol

  1. Wendy says:

    Love the new inside knowledge I have from this post, especially of the Sun Chips kind and fashion advice! I think you’re brave–I would have been really nervous and awkward, I’m sure. Good luck with your next 10 or so days!! : )

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