Turning to eggs?

This is the week that, by Thursday — and in daylight we’re  hoping – we find out just what this session of the Legislature is going to produce for us folks who vote for members of the Legislature whom we send to the Statehouse to, well, produce for us folks.

And it’s probably the week that we’ll be able to decide whether to send those folks back next year to their low-paying jobs that come with indoor parking and, if they have much in the way of social skills, don’t need to carry lunch money because lobbyists will buy their meals…

What’s special this week? Thursday is “Turnaround Day” when most of those little, workmanlike bills either pass out of the chamber where they were introduced or just die there. Nothing gruesome, they just don’t get considered anymore.

Reason for that Turnaround Day is to get things moving.  If a legislator or a committee that doesn’t deal with budgets or taxes introduces a bill and it can’t even get out of its own chamber, well…maybe it wasn’t as good an idea as its sponsors thought. Turnaround Day is almost like a strainer, to get rid of those bills that don’t do much or do more than was imagined when they were introduced or do something that a majority of the members of each chamber don’t want done…

But Turnaround Day also is a tool for legislative leaders, all Republicans, to win favors from members who see their little bills be put up for debate, or maybe put up for debate by those leaders who want votes for other bills. Want that bridge or stretch of highway named for a local hero? Then you might be asked to vote for a bill that allows farmers to sell clearly labeled milk that hasn’t been pasteurized. Or, it could go the other way, vote against that bill and leaders will put up for debate, and near-certain passage, that highway/bridge naming bill.

See how it works both ways? That’s the part of legislative process here under the dome that you don’t hear mentioned much because, well, it would tend to make things here look a little undemocratic, wouldn’t it?

So this week to some degree will indicate the tone of the session, when the governor and other statewide officeholders aren’t on the ballot for another two years and the House and Senate’s members – and their opponents –are on the ballot this August and November.

And some of those “little” bills that may or may not come up for debate and stand a chance to be passed into law don’t mean much for most Kansans but mean a lot for their proponents.

Ever buy a dozen eggs and find one is dirty or broken? Well, there’s a whole procedure for that in state law. There’s a House bill that tells retailers that they can take out that broken egg, replace it with a nice perfect egg, but then have to sell the replacement egg and its 11 cohorts as Grade B eggs, unless they meet some rules to be able to sell the new egg and its 11 friends as Grade A.

Probably not going to mean much to most of us…unless we’re selling those eggs and have to sell them for less because one broke and was carefully replaced.

That’s the sort of bill that if it isn’t passed to the Senate by Turnaround Day it’s dead for the session.  And, we’ll wonder about the history of that egg next to the sizzling bacon.

But only if the bill makes it through Turnaround Day…