Reported by: Claire Melton (John S. Battle High School) and Jack Fife (St. Anne's Belfield School)
After getting an extra hour of sleep, the Sorensen HSLP class arose to the exciting Saturday that awaited us. The Senate Simulation began promptly at 10:00 a.m. with caucus meetings. Each of us represented a real-life member of the Senate, preparing two bills beforehand based on the past positions of our legislators and the interests of the their constituents.
The Republicans held the majority and strategically placed senators on committees. We then met in committee, debated and amended the bills at hand over a working lunch, and practiced proper parliamentary procedure. Following committee meetings, we split ways to have our second caucus meeting. We tactically discussed how we were going to vote and decided on strategies that we felt gave our bills the best chance of passage. Throughout caucus meetings and the recess that followed we attempted to persuade members of the opposing party to aid us in passing legislation.
Our preparation led us to the capstone of the day: the Senate floor session. With Lieutenant Governor Caroline Bones presiding, we debated, amended, and voted on the bills strategically placed on the docket by the majority party. Rigid parliamentary procedure and iron-willed party whips kept the members in line while they discussed legislating for the good of the Commonwealth. The day’s work came to fruition in a debrief led by Professor Johnson and Sorensen’s ownTom Walls. We discussed themes that came to the fore during the simulation including the widespread realization of a natural tendency towards competitiveness between parties.