The End

Hello from Harrisburg!

I just completed my last week as an intern in the Legislative Policy and Research Office at the capitol in Harrisburg. After being here eight weeks I can proudly say that I have worked on 10 projects, this includes resolutions, research memos, constituent letters, and research spreadsheets. The totals include 2 resolutions, 5 research projects, and 3 constituent letters. Most of these were from the health and human services department, with the exception of 3 of the research projects being from the public safety department and 1 of the resolutions being from the children and families department. I am very pleased with my summer here in Harrisburg. I think that I gained valuable insight into state government, the legislative branch, and I did my best to help the research managers and associates in LPRO in the process. I worked very hard on the projects I was assigned. While I was here in Harrisburg I also got the opportunity to see my representative, Gary Haluska and my senator, John Wozniak. This seemed like the logical place to be this summer being a politics POE and I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of future internships in Harrisburg or elsewhere.

Alexis

Research Memos, Constituent Letter, and Resolution

Hello from Harrisburg!

During the last week of July I worked on a research memo, a constituent letter, and began work on a resolution. Also, since the beginning of my internship here I have made it a habit of talking to the research managers and asking them all of my questions on topics such as the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid Expansion, Public School Funding, Charter and Cyber Schools, Liquor Privatization, and Transportation Funding. I am enjoying the work on the resolution most of all because it has suggested language that the representative wants to be used but it is my job to fact check everything and update the information that appears to be about ten years old. I cannot believe that my internship here in the Legislative Policy and Research Office is almost over. I have really been enjoying working here and learning all that I can.

Alexis

Research Memos and Research Spreadsheets

Hello from Harrisburg!

During the week of July 22nd I continued to work on research memos, but I also began work on creating spreadsheets for the health and human services department. I also began working on a new project that came to the office as a result of a constituent question. I am going to write a research memo to help the representative answer this very specific question. I feel like I am learning a lot on different topics and on how to create different tools that representatives and research analysts use to help answer questions and inform the House. I am learning to write spreadsheets, constituent letters, research memos, and resolutions and it amazes me that the work I am helping the Legislative Policy and Research Office with really matters, it serves a purpose. Being an intern here has been an enlightening experience into the legislative branch of state government.

Alexis

Research Memos and Staying Informed

Hello from Harrisburg!

During the week of July 15th I started a new research memo for the health and human services department in the Legislative Policy and Research Office. It is proving to be a bit more challenging than the other research memos and projects I have done so far, but I look forward to the challenge. I have also been reading the voting schedules for September and learning about some of the big bills that were Governor Corbett’s big ticket bills. I recently found out that my resolution that I wrote during my first week at LPRO got sent to the state government committee. I am so excited to see what will happen next with that resolution. I also wonder why it was sent to committee. Most resolutions are non-controversial and are simply voted on without the extra step of sending them to committee, but perhaps my resolution is perceived as controversial. Another exciting topic to follow is the Vote ID case which is now in the superior court. This case is being debated here in Harrisburg and everyday employees and interns of the Democratic Caucus receive news updates twice a day on all the latest news topics and issues that are in the press. I very much like to read the news updates and staying informed on the latest Pennsylvania news.

Alexis

Working on Research Memos

Hello from Harrisburg!

During the week of July 8th in the Legislative Policy and Research Office there was less people at the capitol as a result of the budget being passed and the representatives beginning their summer recess. I in the meantime began working on two projects for the health and human resources department. One of the projects was a research memo and a constituent letter and the other was simply a research memo at that point. I discovered that it was a lot of hard work and it took a long time to comb through all kinds of information at our office’s disposal. I enjoyed what I learned about the topics and I enjoyed doing my part to help out the representatives with their requests. For one of the projects I had to read and translate the budgets from the last few years but they were in Excel Spreadsheet form. This made it interesting. I believe I now know how to read financial budgetary spreadsheets thanks to that project. I truly hope that I can learn as much as I can while I am here.

Alexis

The Short Week After the Budget Passed

Hello from Harrisburg!

During the week of July 4th I wrote a constituent letter for the health and human services department in the Legislative Policy and Research Office. It was kind of exciting because it was on a topic that the House was grappling with in current legislation. So we had to wait to hear how it was going to be used in legislation that was being debated in committee. I have also been like a sponge and when I am not working on anything I read as much information as I can or watch past press releases and committee meetings on my computer. I think it can’t hurt to be fairly informed on the issues I might be required to write about. It was also a pleasant surprise to find out that the entire Democratic Caucus had an early dismissal on Wednesday July 3rd and had off Friday July 5th. We were told that it was because the budget was passed. This made for a very nice holiday weekend and in my case, birthday weekend as well because I turned twenty years old on July 7th.

Alexis

The Week of the Budget

Hello from Harrisburg!

During the week of the Pennsylvania budget the Legislative Policy and Research Office was abuzz with excitement. I was able to attend a few committee meetings that included state government, education, judiciary, and veterans affairs. I also was able to attend two Democratic Caucus meetings where the House Democrats discussed specific bills that were being voted on that day. I had that overwhelming feeling that I was in the presence of the rock stars of Pennsylvania politics…for the Democratic Party. I was pleasantly surprised when two of the bills that were brought up in the education committee were discussed at the Democratic Caucus meeting.

The legislative tracking that I had been working on was completed this week. I worked with one of our project managers in compiling statistics on laws passed since 2007, bills voted out of committee since 2007, and bills that died in the senate since 2007 based on party lines. I very much enjoyed working on this project for a representative because the statistics I found were going to be used as talking points on the floor of the House. The data and statistics as the end result were shocking and would probably be alarming to some people because of the percentages based on party lines.   

It was personally exciting to find out that the resolution I had written my first week was sent to the state government committee. I asked one of my co-workers why my resolution may have been sent to committee since they are usually non-controversial. She mentioned that based on the specific content of my resolution that it may have been controversial and the members might have wanted to discuss it before it was voted on. At the end of the week I was given a constituent letter to write for the department of health and human resources, which some things are still uncertain regarding the content so it is officially ongoing.

During the week of the budget I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the representative from my home district, Gary Haluska was bringing his district office to Harrisburg. This was a great opportunity to touch base with him and let him know how I was doing. It was really great to see him. He had helped in acquiring me this great internship therefore, I was happy to let him know that I was excited to be there and that I was enjoying it thus far. I also got to touch base with the workers of his district office. It was great to see their familiar faces. I was also able to meet and talk to Representative Frank Burns who is the representative from the closed neighboring district to mine in Cambria County. He had also brought his district office to the capital the same day.

On our computers in the office we are able to watch and listen to the activity on the House and Senate floors. So, this week we were all tuning in to hear how the budget and other bills were fairing in the debates and in the voting process. The office was being directly impacted by the floor. Sometimes a representative would call in a request for an amendment that needed to be rushed to the floor of the House to be introduced that same day. From my desk I could hear the other staff members talking about different happenings on the floor that related to their department. And even though I was not at the capital at 10 o’clock at night on Sunday June 30th when the governor signed the budget bill, I felt connected to the bill nonetheless. I had been hearing about the budget since the time I began my internship and between the questions I would ask my co-workers, what I heard in floor debate, and the research I did on my own, I felt quite informed about what this budget meant for Pennsylvania.

I enjoyed the excitement of the past week. I wonder if because politics is always current and changing that the excitement ever truly ends.

Alexis