Long nights, long days: what happens when the legislature pulls an all nighter.

Position:Government Relations - Detroit Regional Chamber Government Relations team - Sarah Hubbard - Interview
 
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During the budget crisis of 2007, The legislature chose to hold marathon session episodes several times. The Chamber's Government Relations team was constantly in attendance or monitoring session throughout the budget and tax negotiations.

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Following is a Q & A with Sarah Hubbard, vice president of Government Relations, about her team's activities during the budget negotiations.

Why does the legislature sometimes hold session all night long?

The legislature responds to deadlines--both real and artificial--by compressing many important decisions into short periods of intense discussion and debate. Often these deadlines are triggered by expiration of existing laws or by the need to pass a budget prior to the beginning of a fiscal year. Other times the deadlines are triggered by commitments made by legislators prior to holidays or long vacations. The sheer volume of bills requiring action before these deadlines, coupled with inability to find quick compromise, sometimes leads to very late nights.

Why can't they get their work done during the day?

A typical session day includes two to five hours of committee meetings and one to three hours of legislative session. Human nature affects legislators similar to others -they frequently address the easiest decisions first and delay action on the more difficult issues that require significant compromise. So those typical legislative days described above are mostly filled with "easy" issues that are passed unanimously with little debate. The most difficult decisions are then forced into those late night sessions.

What do you do when they're in session for so many hours in a row?

At the Chamber, we know that these late night sessions often result in bad anti-business decision making. Therefore, we...

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