Unwritten Rules for Freshman Legislators:
Want to know the 9 unwritten rules for freshman legislators? Check out my father's latest column for the Colorado Statesman, based on his 22 years of service in the Colorado House of Representatives. For example:
Rule No. 1: Don't go to the front to speak and merely state "I'm going to vote for this bill." Go to the front to speak for the first time when you have studied the bill being debated, can explain its merits and defects, and can produce some suggestions that the other legislators might find useful.His website has lots of other articles with advice for legislators, such as how a legislature is like a small town:
In a very small town, people are close. That doesn't mean they are all friends. But when you are close, it's hard to hide a true personality, actual ability, or lack of ability, behind a facade. For better or worse, halfway through a legislator's first year, he or she is pegged at a certain level, and it may take years before original perceptions are discarded.There are also Eight Rules for Lobbyists to Live By, such as:
Rule No. 5. Never surprise a legislator by making your objections known for the first time at a committee hearing. I have seen legislators almost apoplectic when that happens and you have made an enemy for life. Former Sen. Vince Massari of Pueblo kept a little black book. When he felt wronged, the name and event went into the book. If he had a chance for revenge he took it even if he would otherwise have supported the issue because it helped his constituents. For some legislators, revenge is the sweetest dessert.There's also a column warning about the dangers of falling in love with your own bills. That column concludes with this anecdote:
[Former legislator] Steve Durham and I entered a capitol elevator the other day while the Democrat and Republican House legislators were in caucus discussing the long bill.
Durham: "What's the difference between a cactus and a caucus?"
Kopel: "I don't know, what is the difference?"
Durham: "With a cactus, the pricks are on the outside."