Summertime...and the Living is Easy

Summertime. Family vacations. And, recess! Recess from formal sessions of the House.

We're scheduled to take a break next week, and return to so-called "heavy lifting" after Labor Day. But, that doesn't mean that we're not working.

There's always work to be done.

For example, the budget conference committee is still meeting. Hopefully, the state will have its $20-billion allocated and earmarked for Fiscal Year 2000, which started five weeks ago, by September.

And the conference committee to iron out differences between Senate and House managed care bills will be meeting as well. (I'm on the committee, but I won't repeat last week's column which had all the details.)

The bulk of my work will be split between reading and reading and reading some more and answering constituent calls. Yes, you can always call either 413/568-8991 or my State House office, 617/722-2220, if you need help with problems that involve the State.

The majority of those problems continue to be related to Title 5, septic tank regulations, and taxes, gun control and education questions, and, of course, registry problems. Most inquiries deal with the outcome of pending legislation.

And, a lot is still pending. I'd venture a guess out of approximately 8, 000 bills filed each year, perhaps half have been acted on. And, half remain to be tackled. At least this is only he first year of a two year session so time is not running out. Yet.

The reading. About three feet of it, currently sitting in a pile on floor of my office.

Reports like "The Handbook on the Legal Rights of Minors," "The Massachusetts Saltwater Sport Fishing Guide," "The Non-Fiction Writer's Guide: A writer's resource to firearms and ammunition," Mass Inc's "Prisons and Sentencing in Massachusetts: Waging a More Effective Fight Against Crime."

There's also a book on understanding and welcoming immigrants and refugees, a magazine on Y2K compliance, information on raising awareness about mental illness, information about uninsured workers, a Heritage Foundation report on the welfare caseload decline.

There's even a report on the dangers of dog bites. I'll read them all.

But, there's also a 1086 page book (no kidding, 1086 pages!) that someone sent me that I have no intention of reading.

The mail and faxes will continue to arrive, I'll have office hours, and I'll write columns and attend events. Summer recess or not.

And, I'll be attending the National Convention of the National Order of Women Legislators (that's NOWL, now NOW) in Pasadena, where we'll take a serious look at issues ranging from term limits to health care and everything in between. I'm corresponding secretary of the group, which is made up of state and federal women office holders in state legislators and in Congress.

There's fun stuff coming for all of us in Westfield, too. To wit, the Taste of the World....and the Westfield Fair...lobster fest for the Children's Museum and the Thunderbirds are coming to the Westfield International Air Show.

Summertime! And the living is....fun!

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