10. IN THE SENATE CHAMBERS
Ms. Kilgannon: Senator, what can you tell me about these benches? What kinds
of people hung around in this area?
Sen. Snyder: Well, members will sit here now and talk with staff, or talk
with each other. It's kind of nice to step off the floor and talk without being
Ms. Kilgannon: Have a private word, yes. Are lobbyists allowed into here,
or is there sort of a barrier beyond which they should not go?
Sen. Snyder: A member can go ask a lobbyist to come in and they'll certainly
be over here, on the couches over there and visit with them, but especially as soon
as the member's and the lobbyist's conversation is finished, the lobbyist leaves.
And that's during the session.
Ms. Kilgannon: So there is kind of a line.
Sen. Snyder: Yes, there is.
Walking to rostrum...
Ms. Kilgannon: So when you first came to the Senate, you were up here?
Sen. Snyder: Yes.
Ms. Kilgannon: Where would you sit? I understand this is a little bit different
now, that they have modernized it.
Sen. Snyder: It was this way when I came over. Before that, this is where
I sat as Secretary of the Senate, and I served in that position for nineteen years.
The Secretary of the Senate is elected by the members. You're a non-member, and
you do everything fro—in those days, it's changed a little bit now—act
as parliamentarian for the presiding officer, to assign parking spots. And assigning
parking spots is more difficult than being Secretary of the Senate, because we never
had enough parking spots to go around and still don't today.
And here in the Senate, like in the House, the press used to be up front and that
row of desks weren't there—they were along the side. As you know we have forty-nine
members, twenty-five Democrats and twenty-four Republicans, serving in the Legislature
today in 2002. Thank goodness we can't have a tie like they have in the House of
Representatives, like they've had for the last two years.
Ms. Kilgannon: I don't think you could have two Lieutenant Governors.
Sen. Snyder: The marble in here—there's lots of stories I can tell
you about that. The one in particular that I want to show you is can you see the
ballerina girl here? Can you see her hips?
Ms. Kilgannon: Oh, yes.
Sen. Snyder: Can you see the ballerina? There's a lot of other stories that
the tour guides could do a much better job of telling, but that's one that always
amazes me, is that it looks so realistic, and it doesn't take much time to. . .
Ms. Kilgannon: Now, is the chamber pretty much the same as when you were
Sen. Snyder: The only difference is that the configuration of the desks is
a little different. These are still the original desks, even though some have been
added, because until 1957 they only had forty-six members of the Senate, and forty-three
before that. The Constitution allows up to ninety-nine House members, and you can't
have more than one-half the amount in the Senate or less then one-third, so the
House could go down to sixty-three members and the Senate could go down to twenty-one
Ms. Kilgannon: That would be a lot smaller.
Sen. Snyder: It would. But as it is now, each legislative district represents
Ms. Kilgannon: And senators have always sat alone at their own desks—that's
one of their perks?
Sen. Snyder: Yes. There are some desks that are kind of together back there.
Ms. Kilgannon: But not joined together like the House members?
Sen. Snyder: Well, the Chambers are about the same size even though we have
the space that you took pictures of earlier that shows the little space in between,
so we have almost as much space as the House does, but not all on the floor.
Ms. Kilgannon: And senators, like the House members in the early days, only
had their desks?
Sen. Snyder: Yes.
Ms. Kilgannon: They didn't have any other extra perks, being senators?
Sen. Snyder: No. No.
Ms. Kilgannon: Now, let's show what you would have seen when you're sitting
up there on the rostrum behind. . .or in front of rather—the Lieutenant Governor.
Now in your day, that would have been John Cherberg, right?
Sen. Snyder: Yes, he was the Lieutenant Governor the entire nineteen years
I was here as Secretary. In fact, he was the Lieutenant Governor for thirty-two
years, and there was one gentleman in between by the name of Anderson for four years
and then twenty years prior to that, Vic Meyers, so there was only three Lieutenant
Governor's in fifty-six years and one of those was only here for four years.
Ms. Kilgannon: That's impressive. That's longevity.
Sen. Snyder: Yes.
Ms. Kilgannon: Now, we have this very special book that you were telling
me about. We were able to borrow it with special permission from State Archives
for this occasion. Do you want to explain what this is?
Sen. Snyder: Well, this is a Senate docket book. Senate bills and resolutions.
We had a docket clerk, that sat over in the corner where the press is now, who,
by hand, entered the title of the bill and the action as the bill went through the
process: when it was read in, when it was reported from committee, when it came
out of Rules Committee for action on the floor, when it was voted on, and then when
it came back from the House, and when it was enrolled—that's a bill that is
prepared for the governor's office. And in the old days—now we just spit ‘em
out of a computer with the changes—in the old days, those had to be all retyped
on paper that was this size, and with five or six or seven copies—that was
with carbon paper. And some of the bills are dozens of pages long, or occasionally
they get to be hundreds of pages, and we had to bring in an extra typist to start
typing those enrolled bills that went to the governor's office. But with modern
technology and computers, we got rid of all this. This is still done by the Journal
Ms. Kilgannon: This feels like a real journal—I mean, this is a beautiful
Sen. Snyder: Yes, this is. The docket clerk used to be somebody with decent
handwriting. Here's a bill that just got read in, that was referred to committee,
and never got out of committee, so I said to Anne the other day, I told her about
these and I said, "I'm sure they've got them over in Archives." But that must weigh
fifteen or twenty pounds.
Ms. Kilgannon: Oh, yes, that's a hefty thing.
Sen. Snyder: And so there was a lot of manual labor, so that's why we worked
so many hours around here.
Ms. Kilgannon: Would this be a man or woman customarily who did this work?
Sen. Snyder: A woman, I think. I think even though back in the old days,
I talk about Mr. Holcomb, he was—his first job was back before World War One,
in the Legislature he was a male stenographer at that time, so I don't know that
they had any women work in those days, or very few, probably.
Ms. Kilgannon: Not very many, I don't think.
Sen. Snyder: And then after I'd been in for Si Holcomb, and then another
good friend of mine was Ward Bowden, who was the bill room supervisor before me
in the House. He was Assistant Chief Clerk in the House, and when he became Secretary
of the Senate, I became Assistant Chief Clerk. Unfortunately, he died in 1969 during
the session, and that's why I was elected the last day of the session to take his
Ms. Kilgannon: Oh. I wondered about that.
Sen. Snyder: Yes.
Ms. Kilgannon: Well, I know there's a lot of wrap-up work that you would
do. Just because session is over, right, in that position, so they would still need
Sen. Snyder: And when I first became Secretary of Senate, they had a lot
of interim committees, and there'd be one on education, one on higher education,
one on fish and game, and one on regulatory reform, and a lot of others. In 1973,
when I was Secretary of the Senate, the leadership of the House and the Senate under
Augie Mardesich and Lenny Sawyer, who was the Speaker, decided to reorganize the
place. They kept the committees— we have the standing committees working in
the interim—we eliminated most all of those interim committees, and eliminated
our staff, and then we staffed the Senate as we know it today. And I think it's
worked out quite well.
Ms. Kilgannon: So was that the invention of the Office of Program Research,
that group of people?
Sen. Snyder: Yes.
Ms. Kilgannon: And they're here year round. Did that help the process?
Sen. Snyder: Oh, I think so. We were kind of an antiquated weak third branch
of the government because we didn't have staff. Now we have staff and we're a lot
Ms. Kilgannon: Gives you a fighting chance?
Sen. Snyder: Yes. Gives us a fighting chance.