Legislators filled the Gold Room this morning to honor Carl Bianchi, the director of legislative services who tried to retire before this legislative session – but was prevailed upon by legislative leadership to stay on through June.
“When he announced his retirement, we turned into lobbyists,” Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes told the crowd to laughter. “Carl will be missed, and there’ll be a lot of times in the future when we’ll say, ‘What would Carl say?’”
Bianchi acknowledged, “I wasn’t supposed to be here this session and I agreed to come.” But he said having “one more roller-coaster session in the Legislature” turned out to be a gift, and he praised his staff and lawmakers for their work. The assembled legislators honored him with a sustained standing ovation, before House Speaker Bruce Newcomb wrapped it up, saying, “Well, back to work now everybody – we’ve got a little bill on the Senate side this morning.” Newcomb’s controversial water recharge bill is up for debate in the Senate today, a key battle in the closing days of the session that has the retiring speaker worried.