Dorso Column: A Breather At Crossover


Crossover is a very stressful time for many legislators. Leadership and standing committee chairs feel the pressure of making the deadline. Legislation that has been held in committee waiting for a compromise to emerge or amendments agreed to must be reported to the floor. There are deadlines leading up to crossover that, if met, make the last few days easier on some. Many legislators are left with little to do but wait for floor sessions where the final disposition of the legislation is decided. I was always thankful when the last house bill was messaged to the senate.

Most legislators have a lot of work to get caught up on at home. If nothing else you know you have to get started on your income tax. April 15th comes quickly after a legislative session. Even if you are going to file an extension you need to file an estimate which is almost as much work as the final filing. Members who farm have the added burden of preparing for spring work in the fields.

Some people wondered why I didn’t spend more time at public gatherings during the break. The reality was I didn’t have the time or energy. I would load up my paper work and head to Florida. There I could get my paper work done and spend some quality time with my wife. Leaving Bismarck on Friday afternoon and returning Wednesday evening doesn’t give you a lot of time for either. Sue said it would take at least three days for me to unwind.
My advice to legislators then and now is “rest and get your private affairs back in order”. You are going to have a very busy schedule leading up to adjournment.

During crossover break many legislators will be in their home districts. Most will be happy to entertain a conversation about the session or specific pieces of legislation. Some will schedule a meeting where they will take input on what has transpired or what is contemplated. I found that most North Dakotans are congenial when they approach legislators. The only time I resented an intrusion was if I was out having a meal or an evening with family or friends. At such a time a simple note with a telephone number will get a better reception. Most legislators are more than happy to make contact at an appropriate time.

If you have an adversarial position on a piece of legislation your legislator needs to know your reasons. He or she is used to hearing the other side of an argument. They should be respectful and listen if you present your view in the same manner as you would expect of them. They on the other hand might be able to shed some light on why they voted the way they did. Sometimes the facts as presented to them are totally different than those reported by the media to the public. Either way a civil dialogue goes a long way in making good legislation.

Related posts

  • ec99

    There’s still time for all of the incompetent bimbos to go home before passing any of their inane legislation into law.

  • camsaure

    I think very few of the legislaters really give a damn what anyone in the public thinks about what they are doing. At least 75% of them are only interested in retaining power. A good example would be the guest post by Carlson etal, it was almost like hearing obama lie in one of his typical speeches. It was more of an affront and insult. We in the public are better informed then in the past, so those of us whom watch aint fooled. Hopefully things in the future may have better outcomes.

    • ec99

      Central to the problem is they all know once they are elected, there is little chance of them being ousted. The R districts vote R, and the D disticts vote D. And so they go off and do their little dance, and there is no consequence for their stupidity.

      • camsaure

        I agree, but now that there are better information outlets they may not be able to fool as many citizens. I also go out of my way to make it known to a lot of folks who don’t bother to look for the truth, what is really going on and who is doing what to us. Information could spread. Just look how far Carlson etal got with his extremely disinformation post on this blog trying to put a “good” spin on what he is really doing to us.

        • ec99

          As I said elsewhere, hte Legislature has made it next toimpossible for John Doe to run for office, given the salary and the dates.