The Capitol Annex is alive even on Saturdays now. Keys click at a desk or two on the floor and the budget analysts and bill drafters roam in jeans and base ball caps. Mike Nugent the lead bill drafter and long time veteran of legislative services looked like he’d come from a ball game.
    I’m working with Republican colleagues Phil Hart and Lynn Luker on finalizing legislation to change Idaho’s sentencing laws to ensure offenders get supervision after they leave prison. This also for many inmates means better access to drug treatment, support and accountability to keep them healthy, productive members of their communities and families once they leave our state prison system. We hope it will help keep them from returning to an addiction, committing another crime and coming back.
    Hopefully too it will mean less crowded prisons as Judges specify how much of a sentence can be incarceration and what might be set aside for transition and supervision after release onto Parole. This is particularly important for sex offenders, but for some of those whose main issue is addiction, we have a separate bill to help focus on treatment as an alternative to long mandatory minimum sentences.
    Here in the statehouse we are wired and filmed. But nothing like the prisoners we watched from behind the glass on Tuesday. Rep. Margaret Henbest and I watched one man, shuffling, cuffed, long-haired and disheveled, he was moved from one cell to the next clutching some sort of white leather bag or purse. Everything about him screamed despair and bewilderment. What ever he did must have been horrible. But now his life is in that place, behind the glass with all those cameras, guards and all the pastel colors and white paint. 
    Downstairs here in the Capitol Annex, legislative services has set up viewing rooms where big TVs wait so the public can watch us when we assemble to vote on legislation in the House and Senate. The feed is now broadcast on Idaho Public Television as well as on the web at the IPTV web site. The cameras now are dead eyes staring wildly and blank at walls and empty seats. Most days they will click to life at 11 or 11:30 AM. At first boring procedural sessions will in weeks turn into long sessions of debate and parliamentary maneuvering which at last most people around the state will be able to find somewhere on the dial.