Thursday, April 23, 2009

Desperation Legislation

Perhaps it's that we're in the late days of the session or that there's a sense of urgency to "do something", but there are a number of bad motions in floor action in the House of Representatives these days. When I've asked representatives why they're trying to move bad bills off the table (resurrect the bills, in essence), more often than not they say that we need *something* to move.

Bad idea.

As terribly hard as it is to pass a law, it's harder still to change or repeal a bad one. Why on earth would we pass a marginal or outright bad bill just to have *something* on the books?

That's like saying that a half-baked idea has merit as an idea. I say, it's more important to recognize that it's half-baked!

Desperation as a motivation for any action is questionable for that wisdom. It's just such a bad idea to move legislation to the floor when legislative committees have held public hearings, heard testimony from the public and from experts on issues, done research on the topics, discussed the legislation, considered amendments, and decided, in bipartisan votes, to table a bill. Now, that's not to say that good bills weren't tabled for no good reason, but generally, if a bill cannot pass the vetting process of a committee, it probably lacks the substance to advance to the floor. Using procedural motions in the last days of a session to "blast" bad bills is bad practice.

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