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Apr 12, 2010

On reading Legislation.

I doubt that politicians here bother to read the sort of stuff they pass, if they did they might be more effective if they could understand what they read that is. It seems to me though that they tend to simply follow party lines.

John Conyers is a Congressman in the US who believes it is unnecessary, claiming that in the case of the health bill, it would require a couple of days with two lawyers to understand the contents. He is so unaware of the size of it that he claimed it was a thousand pages while the current estimates range from 2,400 – 2,700 pages. Watching the video I am inclined to wonder if this man was even sane before he slipped away into dementia.

H/t Ben and Bawb.

At least two of the current crop of candidates support moves to eliminate this problem.

Katherine Jenerette who is standing as a Republican in the South Carolina first district advocates the following:

All bills are to be read out verbatim by the clerk. (I would suggest that only members who are there for the entire reading should be allowed to vote on it.)

The bill should outline clearly, who benefits by it and who gets hurt.

What earmarks are contained in it and who benefits or is hurt.

Rand Paul (Senate Kentucky) has an even wider agenda, supporting:

The Read the Bills Act, which demands that every bill must be read out in its entirety before a quorum in both House and Senate, and other provisions to prevent bills being voted on in ignorance.

The One Subject at a Time act, to prevent unpopular legislation being piggybacked through on other legislation, as Real ID was.

The write the laws act, which is to prevent Congress delegating this responsibility to bureaucrats.

The Enumerated Powers Act, requiring each bill to include reference to which section of the enumerated powers under the Constitution it claims validity, and,

The fiscal responsibility act, which will trigger an automatic congressional pay cut for every year the budget is in deficit.

They will be difficult to get through but these moves certainly would go a long way to shortening legislation and encouraging some measure of responsibility in government.

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