I’m Caroline and I’m a legislative assistant at a state General Assembly. Today, I’m taking you behind the scenes to a day in the life of a legislative assistant. During our busiest times, we are sometimes pushing close to 12 hour days, but for the most part, we work a solid 9.5 hours a day. Here is what our normally daily schedule looks like on one of our busiest days. Let’s get started!
7:45 a.m. – Arrive at work.
I arrive at my desk ready for the day. I prepare the office by getting fresh, cold water and cups out for my boss and guests. Then, I go through any voicemails and emails that came in over night. During this time, I respond to constituents, meeting requests, and finalize the schedule for the day. I print out a schedule for my boss so that he can go to where he needs to without having to come back by the office and it lays out his schedule when he’s away from his office.
8 a.m. – My boss arrives and we go over his schedule.
We go through his emails and constituent issues. I print off any bills that he has coming before a committee or that will be on the floor later that day. I also make sure that I have everything ready for the committee I will be clerking. At 8:15 am, I head up to the committee room to make sure that our committee is ready for the representatives and the presenters.
8:30 a.m. – Committee starts.
This committee is normally only an informative committee and is a subcommittee of appropriations. They are taught all about their one subject. In this case, Health and Human Services. They learn where the money is currently going and what it does. During the budget, these representatives get a say in what goes into the budget for HHS. It’s normally always presentations. I take attendance, look out for representatives who have questions and let the presiding chair know. I also keep the minutes. Minutes, if you’ve never done them before, vary as to how they are kept. For us, we must give a play by play of what is being said, who is asking what question, and of what person.
10 a.m. – This is normally when Health committee is
Thankfully, today, it is in the same room. I ensure that the agenda, bills, bill summaries, and any proposed committee substitutes are given to the representatives as well as staff. The only reason we are able to do this so quickly is because of our Sergeant at Arms. They serve as the “body guards” while the representatives are on the floor or in committee. They always go above and beyond to help us keep our schedule. During health committee, I have many of the same duties as before except this time I am recording what is happening with bills. Sometimes, I have to do roll call votes if there is division. Taking the minutes is more difficult in this committee because there is a lot more discussion about bills and you have to keep up. After committee, I have to go report the bills out. To do that, I have to report them electronically. Then, I have to take physical copies to the Principal Clerk’s Office where we have certain tasks we must do before handing the bills over.
11:30 a.m. – Type up minutes while my boss is taking meetings
My boss is meeting with people from his district, people who support the bills he has introduced, and people who disagree with his bills. Some people come to his office to ask him about getting money in the budget. Others come to introduce themselves so that if my boss ever has any questions, he can go to them. Every day is different.