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Friday, December 21, 2012

Why bill limits could backfire.

The house is considering a limit on bill to 10 bills per member. Per year. While there may be some Merritt to the goal of limiting the number of bills and duplicate legislation, I think a strict limit of 10 per house member could have some major drawbacks.

First, many members expecially new members, are reluctant to run any legislation at all. They often fear upsetting someone especially right off the bat in their first year. At best some will run small local bills. That leaves experienced members to run the more weighty legislation. If there is no limit on the governor, those members will be covered up by his agenda and they will be reluctant to carry anything else.

Next, those that do want to change things will try to put 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound sack. Legislators will draft legislation with wide open captions to make it so one bill can hit on several issues that are important to them. Before too long, we will start looking like the federal government with bills that look like Christmas trees with all the different goodies tied onto one big bill.

That or legislators will try to attack a bill that may have something close to their heart (just not in their top 10)  with an amendment.  Floor fights especially on wide open captions like the budget could get gruesome and subvert the jobs of why we set up committees for in the first place.

While some may think they won't have to deal with a thorny topic in committee any longer, all they are really doing is setting themselves up for a bigger and longer  fight on the full floor. This was the same as it was under Jimmy Naifeh rule where republicans felt their issues were not given a reasonable chance. The only difference is with a 10 bill limit many important  issues will have NO chance, at least until the full floor.

Also,  minor issues probably would never make the cut. Ever.  Would topics dealing with one small minor issue for a select group of people ever get a fair shake? While it may not be important to everyone, the legislature deals with a ton of small issues that are important and valid to that one small group. Is some minor law change for say the pest control industry or on line telephone providers  going to be in any legislators top 10?  I wouldn't hold my breath. I hazard to think what those groups will start to do to try and make sure they get on to someone's top 10.

It is a situation ripe for corruption.

A rolling limit is much more reasonable where each member can have 10 bills going at one time. The only issue with that is some times between drafting and review those bills could take time to develop and get ready to put forward. But at least they would have a chance.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the few good ideas big gov RINO Harwell has proposed, especially given the unlimited agenda and 3800 bills last year from "small government conservatives". If you had 3800 with a majority, how many will there be with a super majority?

    As for the Governors agenda, he should be enforcing your agenda, not the other way around. The legislature makes laws, but is becoming lost to antiquity with each passing day.

    10 is way too many opportunities to expand government. Perhaps the better approach would be a limit of 1 bill per Rep. that expands government, one that rearranges it and unlimited bills that shrink or eliminate government. Then we'd find out how just how much small government your Republicans really want.

    ReplyDelete

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