Final Session Crush

The Capitol is an angry place during the final week of the legislative session.

"We're trying to get you to reconsider what we think was a very poor decision," said Rep. Jim Waldman.

House Democrats, unhappy that health care legislation hasn’t gotten what they consider to be a fair hearing, have invoked a little used tactic requiring every bill to be read in full.

Meet Mary, the text recognition system. It took Mary just over 5 and a half minutes to read the 1533 words in the six page texting legislation.

Once considered a slam dunk, that bill is now I in trouble after a last minute amendment.

"I would like to see that amendment on this. Our civil liberties are important," said Rep. Jose Oliva.

Former House Minority Leader Dale Patchett has seen it before.

"They made the point. Time to move on," said Dale Patchett, a house member from 1976 to 1990.

Leadership on both sides is scurrying. Trying to cut deals and save bills as time evaporates. Every big issue, but one or two, are still in limbo.

Lawmakers will pass five times more bills this week than any of the other eight weeks.

Veteran lobbyist Ron Book calls it the norm for the final days of the annual session.

“And it works that way every year. It's worked that way since the beginning of time. Since the beginning of government," said Lobbyist Ron Book.

Lawmakers have until midnight Friday to finish on time and finishing on time is never a sure bet until the final gavel has fallen.

The House Republicans in control responded with tactics of their own loading debate to three minutes on any bill.


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