Voices follows bills that can affect children and families as they work their way through the legislative process. Every week during legislative session, we publish the legislative update, which you’ll find below.

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When I was a kid, I remember being fascinated by things like terrariums, snow globes and ships-in-bottles. In fact, still, I am fascinated by them. Other than the creepy and depressing imagery each of those things implies about global warming, I think that what I like most is how each object is its own enclosed universe that operates independently of the world around it. In a terrarium, bugs, worms and spiders govern their own “Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle” earth, but without the cheesy safari helmets or a 76 on Rotten Tomatoes. The stoppered and masted vessel will forever sail its transparent sea, while its mates, no matter the direction of the ship (and despite the complete absence of wind), somehow manage to keep the sails full. And the snow-globe? Well, all I can say is that it must be nice to live in a place where the snow never turns grey (or yellow), and you don’t have to worry about getting to work because of the precipitation (because precipitation IS your work!).

One could say that the capitol during the legislative session appeals to me for the some of the same reasons as the above. I love it that in that building – under a dome of gold, as it were – we all exist in a time-limited – and somewhat weird – terrarium/bottle/globe. The little policy ecosystem that exists for 40 legislative days (and a few long nights) can create (political) wind where there is none, maintain a consistent environment of abject chaos amidst Roberts Rules of Order, and above all, attempt governance of the terrarium we call home. In that universe, its little beings (known as electeds, appointeds, tourists, lobbyists, and advocates) willingly live for hours on end, oblivious to the outer world. It is not uncommon for a “Session-er” to enter the building in the depths of winter in January and emerge 3 months later wondering where the tulips came from (and where their umbrella, car keys, hair and sanity went)? Right now, we are a week away from a momentous day in our Middle Earth – it is called Crossover Day and signifies the last day when a bill can pass its originating chamber into the other chamber and still be viable for passage this year. And so right now, under the dome, ants and spiders are scrambling, the pirates are hoisting and readying the cannons, and Mr. Snowman? Well, he is simply overwhelmed and frozen in time, letting the snow-chips fall where they may and hoping that the bottom doesn’t fall out (bless his heart).

And with that, I urge you to take a few minutes to explore the shadowbox of budget and bills here. And mostly, please send a message into our alternate universe by advocating on the action alerts we have provided below. I promise that if you do, a session-er will appreciate the guidance, and you may even get a snowman to smile.

Until the next message (in a bottle), I remain…

— Polly

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