When the Gavel Strikes Midnight – by Patricio Panuncio, 2014 Intern to Senator Luz Robles

When the gavel strikes at midnight on Thursday, March 13, the 2014 General Legislative Session comes to an end.  Some legislators will leave satisfied, others disappointed.  As for me, an intern for the Senate, I will leave with an unforgettable experience that has taught me discipline, procedural politics, professionalism, and most importantly, a profound respect for the work that goes on inside the Utah State Capitol.


For the last 45 days, I have had the unique opportunity to observe the work from the inside.  As an intern, I play a crucial role in ensuring that day-to-day operations run smoothly for my senator.  By no means is my job simple, but it looks like a walk in the park when compared to what legislators do daily.  They dedicate countless hours reviewing and discussing pieces of legislation.  It is their duty to enact sound policy, while satisfying thousands of constituents.  Failing to satisfy these constituents can result in social ridicule and a ruined reputation.  Even with all the constant pressure, many still decide to run for re-election year after year.

Many people are often critical of the Legislature.  I, myself, have been.  A public official’s accountability is crucial.  We often fail to understand and perceive the full story.

If there is one thing I have learned, it is to not be quick to judge.  It is important to be grateful for the responsibility these people hold and to remember that the best interest of the State of Utah is their overall objective.  For now, the legislature will continue to conduct regular business in an upbeat manner as the last-minute legislation is proposed.

On Friday, legislators will catch a break, and Utah will continue to function regularly.

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