This is an unprecedented day at the state capitol…..where the state senate is spending the day putting together proposals to reshape state government in the face of serious financial problems.

Eight groups of four senators are working on suggestions from the public, fellow lawmakers, and state employees for ways to make state government at least one-half billion dollars smaller.

The process started about two weeks ago when the state senate began soliciting ideas from the public about ways to shrink state government.

Other committees have been looking at recommendations in fields of education, social programs, transportation, public safety, and other parts of state government. The committees are to present their recommendations in a late-afternoon senate session (4 p.m.). The reports are considered so important that the senate is suspending its rules banning the use of visual aides in the chamber and will let Senators make presentations from the well of the Senate (the open area in the front between the dais and the senators’ desks. Some recommendations might become effective almost immediately through a governor’s executive order. Others will require changes to laws or a statewide vote a constitutional amendment.

AUDIO: Opening remarks at one of the meetings by Sens. Schaefer, Clemons, Barnitz, Shoemyer (5 min MP3)