January 26, 2011 Edition

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Days are full for new representative

State Rep. James Ratliff of Imboden receives support from his wife, Georgia Ratliff, at his swearing in as a member of the 88th General Assembly.

Gretchen Hunt

After two weeks in the legislative session, District 73's new representative, James Ratliff of Imboden, is finding his stride.

The days are pretty full, according to Ratliff, though there is not a lot to report yet regarding legislation.

"The process of getting most bills to the house is slow with studies that have to be done before they can be voted on," he said.

Ratliff was sworn into the office on Jan. 10 after the 88th General Assembly convened.

He said a typical day begins at 7 a.m. and often does not end until well into the evening.

"First thing, from 7-8, we have a working breakfast," Ratliff said. "We meet with different groups, such as all the freshmen legislators or all the Democrats on the Agriculture Committee."

Following breakfast, Ratliff said he spends time checking e-mails, returning phone calls and working on things for constituents.

From 10 a.m. to noon, committee meetings are held. Ratliff serves on the Agriculture Committee and the Judiciary Committee and is an alternate for the Legislative Council.

Lunch meetings are held at noon with groups or individuals who are lobbying the legislature.

"At 1:30 the session is called to order," Ratliff said. "We do business until everything is done on the agenda - sometimes we are through by 3 and sometimes its 8."

Ratliff said on the days the session ends in time, the Democrats meet at 4:30 to talk about what bills are coming up.

"That meeting is very helpful, especially for those of us new to the legislature," he said.

Generally from 5:30-7 p.m. there is some type of reception and/or dinner.

"After dinner, I look on the computer to see what bills are coming up and answer calls again," Ratliff said.

He said that as the session progresses, more bills will make it to the floor.

"The session is going slow with some hot bills in healthcare coming up," he said. "When all these bills come up, the pace will pick up quickly."

Ratliff welcomes calls regarding legislative matters and can be reached at 501-454-5200.

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