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Michael Shellman Baer III (April 10, 1947 – June 10, 2008) served as Secretary of the Louisiana State Senate from 1979 to 2004. Prior to this position he was employed as a researcher and attorney for the LA Legislative Budget Committee; researcher for the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee of LA Constitutional Convention; Staff Director, LA Joint Legislative Dome Stadium Investigating Committee and attorney for the LA Senate Retirement and LA Senate Finance Committees, and served as Counsel to the Governor from 1976 to 1979. In addition, he was an adjunct law professor at Southern University Law Center.
Baer graduated in 1969 from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. From 1969 to 1974;, he attended law school at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Baer passed the bar exam in 1974.
Senator B.B. "Sixty" Rayburn, a long-time friend and mentor, recommended Mike for his first job at the then Louisiana Legislative Council, the forerunner of Senate Legislative Services, as a student worker and printer in 1972. Baer worked hard at the Louisiana Legislative Council and advanced quickly to more prominent positions as law clerk, committee staff assistant, research analyst, and staff attorney after admission to the bar in 1974.
During this time with the Legislative Council, he staffed numerous Senate committees including the committees on finance, retirement, and revenue and fiscal affairs, plus the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, the Joint Domed Stadium Committee, and the Constitutional Convention of 1973.
In 1976, Baer accepted the position of assistant to Executive Counsel Camille F. Gravel Jr., in the office of Governor Edwin W. Edwards.
When Senate Secretary Charles William "Bill" Roberts accepted a judgeship for the Nineteenth Judicial District in February 1979, Mike Baer returned to the Senate as its secretary and thus began an era of innovation in new technologies unheard of in other state legislatures.
Secretary of Louisiana State Senate
At his new position, Baer took a proactive stance on new applications which had a positive effect on the efficiency of the legislative process with utilization of cutting-edge software developments in word processing, reporting, record keeping, electronic chamber applications, such as the reader board, senate desk operations, push-button technology for a recognition and response queue of all legislator questions and voting, and telecommunication advancements, including voice mail, facsimile, and internet access; all of which were made readily available in chamber at senators' desks, in district offices, and in offices within the capitol.
During his tenure, the drafting process was streamlined with personal computer modifications which took research and drafting techniques from pencil and paper operations to desktop publishing, compressing the time period involved in production of legislative requests from days to mere hours.
Implementation of these new technologies set the Louisiana Senate as the high benchmark by which others were measured, far ahead of many states and nations, who sent their emissaries to observe the mechanics of a legislative day in the chamber.
- ↑ Louisiana State Senate.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Louisiana State Senate Resolution NO. 107, Louisiana State Senate, Louisiana, 2012
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