The media like to criticize the Legislature for passing gimmick-ridden budgets on the last day of the fiscal year. So naturally, since President Pearce, Speaker Adams and their respective caucuses managed to pass an honest budget and adjourn in 100 days, the media are pointing out how brilliantly successful the session was...Ha, I slay me. Actually, here's how the media will try to define the session:
The session will be remembered as much for the attention that measures such as the "birther" bill and the guns-on-campus bill drew as for the Legislature's relatively quick work putting out a balanced budget.
Really? There were over 1300 bills introduced and over 200 that became law and the media is going to define the session by two bills that were vetoed. That's classic.
While you and I understand that this is pure media spin, unfortunately, Republic readers oftentimes believe some of it. I have clients who call me and ask why the Legislature spends all of its time focused on immigration, guns and fringe "birther" type issues when there are important issues--like the budget--that they should be working on.
My response is that the legislature spends almost all of its time on the budget. It spends almost no time on the 5 or 6 "crazy" bills that it considers each year. However, the media seek to define the session by the crazy bills because that's what sells newspapers.
This type of coverage is a disservice to readers and wouldn't be tolerated in other sections of the paper. Can you imagine if the sports page covered Bobble Head sales, but not the actual baseball games? What if it covered the personal lives of the Suns players and then simply listed the scores on the back page? What if the coverage of US Air and Southwest Airlines was limited to crew member frashions? Eventually, the public would think that the only thing that Airline CEOs cared about was skirt length.
If you get 20 people in a room, they can't decide what to order for lunch. In fact, have you ever been with a group of 6 or 7 coworkers trying to decide where to go to lunch on a Friday? Either one person steps up to decide, or the group goes hungry.
Yet the legislature--90 people from different parties and different regions--work together and process 1300 major pieces of legislation and allocate an $8 billion dollar budget in 100 days. And these topics aren't mundane lunch decisions...the legislature deals with abortion, marriage, school funding, healthcare, pension reform and a thousand other issues that polite people know they shouldn't discuss at work. And for that they get paid a whopping $24,000 a year.
So next time you see legislators, thank them and congratulate them on how well they do their job.