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OPINION: Typical day, not always easy on state lawmakers

n Rep. Robin Lundstrum shares an hour-by-hour log of day in the life. by Maylon T Rice | April 7, 2021 at 5:25 a.m.

During the recent 2020 General Elections there was much talk about the duties of our state elected officials.

Most of the elected officials do not complain about their daily grind while the legislative session is going on down in Little Rock.

I asked for and was granted an hour-by-hour capsule of the day-in-the-life of a State Representative from State Rep. Robin Lundstrum of House District 87.

Read along and see what a typical day at the Legislature is all about.

• • •

MIDNIGHT: I am still awake, I should have turned off my lamp and gone to bed about 10 p.m., but I am still reading bills late tonight, preparing for tomorrow.

1:15 a.m. -- Getting ready for bed.

1:30 a.m. -- The light goes off. I'll regret this late night in a few hours, I am sure.

7 a.m. -- My alarm clock goes off. I pick up my cell phone and discover new text messages and emails. I'll have to hustle as I text the other members who have called.

8:10 a.m. -- Having a cup of coffee, makeup time and I quickly eat a bowl of oatmeal.

8:15 a.m. -- Two conference calls on HB 2739, I am returning calls on HB 1240, I do some work on HB1740 and return some emails on HB 1741. We are adjourning tomorrow for Spring Break, so I have to get packed and ready to head out when the session is over.

9:20 a.m. -- I leave for Insurance and Commerce Committee at the Big Mac, which is behind the Capitol; the tennis shoes I am wearing (with my heels in my bag over my shoulder) sure feel good in making this long walk.

12:45 p.m. -- I go back to my "dorm" room at Capitol Hill, return some calls and snag a quick tuna lunch.

12:55 p.m. -- I head for the House Chamber.

1 p.m. -- The Speaker lets the gavel fall, the House is in Session.

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. -- The House meets for the day.

3:01 p.m. – I am off to Public Health meeting, meeting some doctors who have driven in to help with committee testimony. I grab handful of messages left at the House switchboard from constituents.

3:05 p.m. to 5:34 p.m. -- Public Health Committee meets and considers many bills, some with testimony from witnesses.

5:35 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. -- I speak to some Senators about two bills coming up in Public Health in the near future.

6:30 p.m. I am back in the "dorm" to eat a Weight Watchers boxed meal, change into some jeans and catch a brief moment of quiet and rest.

7 p.m. -- I have crossed back over to the Capitol for the Legislative Action Committee meeting.

8:30 p.m. -- Back to the "dorm" but the day isn't done – just yet.

8:50 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. – I do the small amount of dishes left from breakfast, lunch and dinner. I read over some bills to be under consideration for tomorrow and work on a bill I need to correct and get ready to run. I make a few calls. I stopped at 10 p.m. to listen to some podcasts of other committees I am not on to see the progress of some bills I am interested in and now as I look at the clock it is after midnight.

12:35 a.m. I get ready for bed, grab a book to read and pretty soon it is lights out!

Set my alarm, tomorrow is already here. The alarm will go off sooner than I like, but that's the schedule.

-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.


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