Post #36, Bob McKnight's Subscription Commentary
It's The Rules.
We have a new Governor-Elect, Lt. Governor-Elect, and new Cabinet-Elect. But, probably the most important new political body is the Florida Legislature-Elect. I say that because most political observers say the government that is the closest to the people is the most important. That is the Legislature.
So, I offer these governance tips to assist the lawmakers, especially the new legislators. As a point of reference they can be found in my book, The Golden Years...The Florida Legislature, '70's and '80's. Reflections on Campaigns and Public Service. Available at Amazon.com, ISBN 10: 0-7414-8185-5 and e-book version.
It's the Rules Stupid. Former Dean of the Senate Dempsey Barron always counselled new members to learn the Rules to be effective at lawmaking. No surprise, guess who was the Chairman of Rules Committee during all my service in the House and Senate? The Red Barron.
Study...Don't Talk. The temptation coming off an ego driven campaign and anxious to keep commitments, is to chime right in to a political debate. Don't do that. Resist the temptation and study the process.
Staff. Staff. Staff. They know more than you and they are bi-partisan. So, use the staff to help you understand the process and the issues. I am not talking about the member's staff, I am talking about the Committee Staff.
Lobbyists are Important. During the campaign, lobbyists are typically vilified. Now that you are in office, don't ignore the contribution concerns, but ignore their years of experience and knowledge at your own peril.
Do Not Commit Your Vote Until....You are certain you understand the issue. And I do mean understand it. This is probably the biggest pitfall for new legislators. There can be many changes to legislation, and they seem to come at all times, including the very end.
Congratulations Legislators on your election, and good luck.