Woody and Chloe "The Missing Page"

I kept my hand raised for so long I thought it might fall off. “Young man,” Representative Gumpster, who was introducing the 999056 bill, said. “Pages aren’t allowed to speak in session. Therefore, this better be urgent. Please stand and state your name... Oh, you’re Woody, correct?”

“Yes sir,” I responded, wondering how he knew my name. “I don’t want to be rude, sir, but nobody is going to want a 999056 bill.”

“And you know this how?” Mr. Gumpster asked, raising his voice and eyebrow on the last word.

“It’s easy to make change for a ten or a twenty-dollar bill, but how will a person make change for a 999056 bill?” I responded firmly.

Representative Gumpster shook his head and spoke. “Since we have so many new pages let me give a brief history lesson. A bill is a proposed law. All laws begin as an idea. These ideas may come from politicians or citizens. If a citizen has an idea for a law, they contact a senator or representative to discuss their ideas. If the legislator agrees, he or she will research and write up a bill to present. Once the bill is written, it is placed in the hopper, a special box on the side of the clerk’s desk. The clerk will file it and give it a number. All bills introduced in the House of Representatives start with HB for House Bill. All bills introduced in the Senate start with SB. After the bill is filed, it needs someone to sponsor it - to introduce it to the other legislators and fight for it– like I’m doing for House Bill 999056.”

“So, the 999056 bill isn’t new paper money?” I asked, just to double check.

“Not in the least,” Representative Gumpster answered. “House Bill 999056 is a proposed law to improve animals shelters across Kentucky. This bill proposes that animal shelters provide one hour of exercise and socialization every four hours to improve the physical and mental health of all animals.”

“That’s fantastic!” I shouted.

“It sure is,” my sister exclaimed! “When will it be passed?”

Mr. Gumpster banged his gavel. “Hold it there, Woody, we don’t know if this law will even make it to committee.”

“Sir,” another page named Franklin spoke. “I’m sure Woody and Chloe think that’s a great law, but for those of us who don’t have animals, why would we care about those laws?”

“Good point, Franklin,” Representative Gumpster replied. “Government and laws have many purposes. Laws are made to protect people from harm, to punish those who don’t follow the law, to establish a society where people live and work in peace and harmony and where order is maintained. So Franklin, what if there weren’t laws regarding animals? What if we didn’t have animal shelters? Where would all the homeless animals go? If animals were running around everywhere, would it affect you then?”

“Yes sir,” Franklin replied.

“Sure it would,” the representative confirmed, “because stray dogs and cats would be everywhere, maybe even living at your house. So animal shelters really do affect you.”

“That makes sense, so it is a good law to pass,” Franklin replied.

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