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New Session Means More Work For Capitol Employees

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 03 Jan 2011 09:54am | comments
Secretary of the Senate Tressa Gynes.

Law makers will return to Jackson to start the 20-11 legislative session today. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that it takes more than senators and representatives to handle the state's business.

In the basement of the Capitol building, Neal Hamilton readies the copy machines to print out copies of bills, committee substitutes and even the daily calendar.

"Our work load will increase from maybe five or ten thousand copies a day to as much as a couple hundred thousand copies a day," Hamilton said.

Hamilton says it takes nine people to handle all the copies and make sure they get delivered to the right place on time.

"Simply because of the schedule we are on to bring out legislation, you have to have so many hands to get everybody prepared and ready on that small a timeframe," Hamilton said.

The Legislative Reference Bureau is a small room next to printing office. Its stuffed with shelves of thick books and piles of paper that hold the history of the legislature.

Bureau director Casey Pace says they get bombarded with requests for information once the session starts and lawmakers being crafting laws.

"We provide information to the attorneys that draft the legislation and we have members of the public and other state agencies (making requests)," Pace said.

Three stories above the basement is the State Senate. Making sure the Senators have everything they need to do their works is the responsibility of Tressa Gynes who is the Secretary of the Senate. Her work load picks up long before the session starts.

"We have been busy since mid-December preparing for the session. And it is every aspect of that. Getting the building ready. Getting their desks ready. Getting paperwork ready," Gynes said.

The capitol will be buzzing with pages, porters, capitol police, maintenance workers, grounds keepers and countless others who will spend the next three months keeping the government running. The session officially starts at noon today.

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Secretary of the Senate Tressa Gynes.


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