Day 77: Watch a legislative debate

18 Mar

As the state Capitol, Tallahassee offers a good many things that other cities in Florida don’t. One of those things is the ability to watch the legislative process. On most weekdays in March and April, any member of the public can trot on down to the Capitol building and watch lawmakers debate bills in the House and Senate chambers. It’s completely free and open to the public. But there are a few things you should know in advance. One, you will have to go through a metal detector to enter the Capitol. (But no removing of shoes or invasive pat-down). Two, it helps to go to the House and Senate websites in advance and look at their calendars. That will tell you when they are in session, and when they are meeting in committees. Three, don’t count on great food. The Capitol cafeteria is so-so and often crowded. Four, don’t even bother looking for free parking unless you’re willing to take a hike. Try Kleman Plaza instead. In my opinion, the best time to go would be in April, when lawmakers spend long hours debating bills on the House and Senate floors. And if you ask certain men who have been around the process awhile, they’ll tell you it’s also a good time to oogle the pretty women, called “closer girls,” who linger around each chamber near the end of the 60-day legislative session.

Address: 400 South Monroe, The Capitol

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