My Stuff
  •   Blog Index
  •   Blog History
  •   Today's Posts
  •   Greg on Politics
  •   Search Term Q&A
  •   QotDs
  •   Popular Articles
  •   Most Active
  •   Recent Comments
  •   Articles With Images
  •   Newbie Competition
  •   Gun Control Questionnaire
  •   Florida Gun Resources
  •   [ contact ]
  • Bloggers I've Met
  •   Gun Nuts Media
  •   MArooned
  •   McThag
  •   Robb "No Pants" Allen
  •   Say Uncle
  •   The Big Guy
  • Friends
  •   Another Manic Monday
  •   Cato Institute
  •   My Tampa Life
  •   Sticks of Fire
  •   Tampa BLAB
  •   Tampa Bay Fish
  •   The Line is Here
  •   WMITC
  • Blogs
  •   2A Musings
  •   Advanced Armament Corp
  •   Airborne Combat Engineer
  •   Alphecca
  •   Anarchangel
  •   Another Gun Blog
  •   Argghhh!!!
  •   Arizona Rifleman
  •   Armed Canadian
  •   Atomic Nerds
  •   Bayou Renaissance Man
  •   Billlls Idle Mind
  •   Black Man With A Gun
  •   Blunt Object
  •   Bore Patch
  •   Cam Edwards
  •   Captain of a Crew of One
  •   Cat O. Nine Tales
  •   Cogito Ergo Geek
  •   Colt CCO
  •   DiveMedic
  •   Firearms and Freedom
  •   From the Barrel of a Gun
  •   GeekWithA.45
  •   Geeks With Guns
  •   Great Blue Whale
  •   Gun Loving John
  •   Gun Pundit
  •   Gun Trust Lawyer
  •   GunBloggers
  •   Gunpowder Treason
  •   Guns, Holsters and Gear
  •   Hell in a Handbasket
  •   Home on the Range
  •   I don't sleep, I dream
  •   John Lott
  •   Jon H. Gutmacher
  •   Justin Buist
  •   Keep and Bear Arms
  •   Keyboard and a .45
  •   LawDog Files
  •   Liberty Girl
  •   Liberty News
  •   Liberty Zone
  •   Mad Rocket Scientist
  •   Michael Bane
  •   Michael's Soapbox
  •   Move Left?
  •   Mr. Completely
  •   NRA Blog
  •   New Jovian Thunderbolt
  •   Ninth Stage
  •   No Looking Backwards
  •   Of Arms & the Law
  •   Pretty Pistolera
  •   Right to Bear Arms
  •   Rustmeister's Alehouse
  •   Sentinel
  •   Shooting the Messenger
  •   Smallest Minority
  •   Snowflakes In Hell
  •   Somewhat Intelligent
  •   Steve's Blog
  •   TFS Magnum
  •   Tell Me Why?
  •   The Bitch Girls
  •   The Breda Fallacy
  •   The Countertop Chronicles
  •   The Firearm Blog
  •   The Gun Blogs
  •   The Liberty Sphere
  •   The Mad Hatter
  •   The Real Gun Guys
  •   The Shootist
  •   The Whited Sepulchre
  •   Trigger Finger
  •   View From NC Idaho
  •   View From The Porch
  •   Volokh Conspiracy
  •   Wasted Electrons
  • 2A/Firearm Info
  •   Florida Firearms Law
  •   Gun Facts
  •   Gun Law News
  •   Gun Laws
  •   GunBlast
  •   GunCite
  •   Handgun Law
  •   NRA News
  •   USA Carry
  •   Wiki Entry

  • Previous Entries
      2015
        Sep
      2012
        May
        Apr
        Mar
        Feb
      2011
        Dec
        Nov
        Oct
        Aug
        Jul
        Jun
        May
        Apr
        Mar
        Feb
        Jan
      2010
        Dec
        Nov
        Oct
        Sep
        Aug
        Jul
        Jun
        May
        Apr
        Mar
        Feb
        Jan
      2009
        Dec
        Nov
        Oct
        Sep
        Aug
        Jul
        Jun
        May
        Apr
        Mar
        Feb
        Jan
      2008
        Dec
        Nov
        Oct
        Sep
        Aug
        Jul
        Jun
        May
        Apr
        Mar
        Feb
        Jan
      2007
        Dec
        Nov
        Oct
        Sep
        Aug
        Jul
        Jun
        May
        Apr
        Mar
        Feb
        Jan
      2006
        Dec
        Nov
        Oct
        Sep
        Aug
        Jul
        Jun
        May
        Apr
        Mar
      2005
        Dec
        Nov
        Oct
        Sep
        Aug
        Jul
        Jun
        May
        Apr
        Feb
        Jan
      2004
        Dec
        Nov
        Oct
        Sep
        Aug
        Jul
        Jun
        May
        Apr
        Mar
        Feb
        Jan
      2003
        Dec
        Nov
        Oct
        Sep
         

    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    Greg on Politics(3): Legislative Reform Comment
    Gregory Morris, 5/17/07 8:56:56 am
    First: implement a "Single-Subject Law" rule in both houses of Congress (or just one if you really wanna see sparks fly.) Some states have this already. Basically for a provision to be added to a law, it has to be directly relevant to that law. I love this idea, because it defuses a lot of those nasty political maneuvers that really piss me off. ("You didn't vote for such-and-such! You must be against it!" ... "No, I didn't vote against it because you added in some bullshit that isn't relevant.")

    Second: require non-emergency legislation be remain hold no less than 2 months from the initial reading in each house prior to voting. This is along the same idea as requiring congressmen to take a test on a law before they are allowed to vote. There is no way that a congressman can claim something slipped through without his knowledge. Certain types of legislation are emergencies, and it would be a simple matter for congress to vote on whether a law is indeed an emergency. A perfect example would be funding for disaster recovery. The budget probably wouldn't be restricted by this either.

    Third: require that a non-emergency law cannot go into effect until 6 months after it passes. There are numerous reasons for this. The biggest one is that it will mitigate knee-jerkiness. The second is that it will allow state legislatures time to revise their laws accordingly. Third, and most importantly, it will allow time for court challenges before a bad law causes any damage. There is rarely an instance when a law needs to go into effect immediately. When a politician demands that a law be passed and go into effect quickly, chances are they are knee-jerking or trying to hide their true motives.

    Fourth: A constitutional amendment, forcing congress to set a mandatory sunset clause for all new laws passed.
    This is the one I really want to talk about, so I will. In detail...

    Some of the suggestions I have for such a provision are:
  • After the expiration a law can be renewed, made permanent, or let to expire.
  • A law cannot become permanent until it has had a trial run, and a second round of voting.
  • Require the "sunset provision" to be between 2 and 4 years.
  • It would be really nice to somehow make it easy to apply this to old laws. I have no idea of how that would work.

    Take note that I abhor constitutional amendments. Among the uneducated, they are thought to "grant rights" to the people, when in reality, the people already have the rights, and enumerating them simply makes it seem like we have less than we would in an ideal world. The bill of rights was pure (and not unfounded!) paranoia. It enumerates what is off-limits to lawmakers (after the constitution enumerates the government's powers specifically.) This amendment would have nothing to do with my rights, simply how the federal government operates... which was the point in allowing amendments to the constitution in the first place.

    Pros:
  • Enables laws that are bad and/or useless to expire.
  • Eliminate stupid and partisan bills, with the worst-case scenario being a short trial run.
  • Force members of congress to think before sticking something in a bill that may be contentious later.
  • Eliminates worthless "feel-good" legislation.
  • Eliminates some court challenges to laws, because less borderline-unconstitutional legislation will get passed.
  • If a law works, and everyone is happy with it after a few years, it is simple enough to bring it up for a vote to make it permanent.
  • A law passed by a republican congress may come up for re-vote by a democrat-controlled congress. There is more balance between the parties this way.

    Cons:
  • More work for congress (oh well, maybe they can just vote themselves a pay raise.) This would substantially change how D.C. politics works. Now, each time you have to fight to pass a law, you will generally have to fight two times or more. While I don't personally think this is a "con", some people might view it as such.
  • In an ideal world, this could be applied retroactively to older laws, but that would take forever, and congress would likely get bogged down debating subsections of 100 year old laws.
  • Still allows politicians to declare victories when stupid laws are passed, even if they will probably go away in a few years.
  • Fast cycling of laws may be confusing, but this is mitigated by the fact that congress will be more likely to act in a cautious manner.

    Examples:
    This clearly worked out well for the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban (although it took 10 years.) The law did nothing (except to help firearms sales) but since it was allowed to expire, no long-term damage was done.

    Another example is the Patriot Act, which although it has some good/useful parts, also damages our constitutional rights. Since nobody really opposed it (which would have been political suicide, just after 9/11) nobody really even discussed it before voting for it. However, since there had to be a vote to renew it, it gave the people more time to think about the pros and cons of the bill, and to determine if it is really working. Congress decided that although it may have some problems, it is indeed working, and therefore they renewed it. The important thing is they didn't renew it until everyone had time to think about it.

    More examples
  • Clearly tax increases should sunset.
  • Bush's tax cut has a sunset provision as well.
  • The Sedition Act of 1798 which was clearly unconstitutional, was made to sunset. Granted, the reason for the sunset provision was merely political wrangling (the federalists, who enacted it, didn't want it used against them when they left office.) Regardless, it forced a bad law which was being abused, to expire.
  • In Texas, entire government agencies (except ones defined in the constitution) will sunset if not re-authorized. This is a powerful tool for managing government waste and spending, since it forces the agencies to prove their worth every time their sunset comes around!

    How to make it happen:
    While I don't see these ideas being implemented at the federal level any time soon, they have been in some states. Any of the more libertarian-oriented states (Vermont, Alaska, etc.) should be able to support this type of thinking. Of course, it is the nanny-oriented-states (California, NY, Mass.) who probably need it more.

    Here is a Cato Institute essay on sunset provisions for more background (and one of my references.)

    Note: this is not meant to be scholarly work. This is simply my opinion. If I use someone else's ideas, I try to credit them where appropriate. I also reserve the right to change my opinion when provided with better information, as any half-intelligent person should do.

  • [Comments are closed after a month.]

    Re: Greg on Politics(3): Legislative Reform
    joe, 5/17/07 10:40:24 am
    most of these seem like good ideas, but who would make up the tests for the lawmakers in #2?
    Re: Greg on Politics(3): Legislative Reform
    Gregory Morris, 5/17/07 12:59:12 pm
    That's why I proposed what I did. The test idea is funny and all, but as you've pointed out, it won't work. That's why I suggest that laws should simply be open and more visible for a few months, before they are allowed to come to a vote.

    I mean, I guess you could just put together a committee, independent of the bill sponsors to put together the test, but that is clearly work that Congress would have no interest in doing.
    Re: Greg on Politics(3): Legislative Reform
    joe, 5/17/07 7:17:46 pm
    as groundbreaking - and utopian - as these, and any attempts at reform sound, they will never work. as long as the special interest lobby exists - and god help the lawmaker get reelected who proposes a bill for this - nothing will ever get done. as sad as it is, money talks. bills will always have porky appropriations, unnecessary spending, simply because senators are worried about reelection campaigns.

    i think a better system would be to give equal, unpaid airtime for candidates, chosen by a bi-partisan committee who would then dole out spots as they choose. but then you run into the inherant two-party setbacks.

    personally, i think we should be a constitutional monarchy. and i nominate angelina jolie for queen.
    Re: Greg on Politics(3): Legislative Reform
    GunGeek, 5/17/07 10:22:30 pm
    Well, it's a good enough idea and all, but not really workable. Why not, you ask?

    I didn't catch whether it was the House or Senate, but I heard a brief clip of some of what went on with the war "funding" bill that Bush vetoed. They were voting on whether or not each of the amendments were on topic for the bill in question. The one I caught was the one about providing subsidies for Christmas Tree farmers. They took a vote and the majority voted that it was in keeping with a war funding bill.

    You can make a law that says bills have to be one subject, but there has to be a way to decide if it is really just one subject and that's going to be by a vote by the same people that are trying to include off-topic provisions.

    Same thing with whether or not something is an "emergency" or needs an exemption from the sunset clause, etc.

    Let's not forget that the same legislators that want to find ways to get around the laws are the same ones that exempted themselves from Social Security and the Freedom of Information Act.
    Re: Greg on Politics(3): Legislative Reform
    Gregory Morris, 5/18/07 6:18:21 am
    Yeah, I agree with both of you. This is just my idea of a perfect world really. The biggest problem I have is that "this won't work because congress won't let it." Congress shouldn't be the ones in power, it should be the people (*cough* sounds like Mike Gravel eh?)

    Joe, regarding your idea about "equal unpaid airtime" and whatnot... I think that is just about as likely to happen. The problem is, Congress keeps passing (or at least trying to pass) laws that regulate political campaigns, and they simply don't work. What's worse, they DO infringe on people's and company's freedom of speech. The media, as shitty as they are, must not be told what they can and/or must print/show. For Congress to even try to intervene is unconstitutional. So only "rich" people get elected? Frankly, that's going to happen anyway, and abusing the media isn't going to fix it. In my humble, yet correct, opinion, the internet will soon be the great equalizer of democratic process. Traditional media is quickly becoming obsolete (although not fast enough for me.) One voice on the internet means nothing, but the collective power of the mob will become the real power in political lobbying.

    Regarding the "special interest lobby"... I'm a card carrying member of the most powerful one. I agree that Congress needs more autonomy from lobbyists, but how is that ever going to happen? Politicians need to grow a pair (sorry Hillary) and stand up to the lobbies.... that's all. But they never will, because they are under some kind of impression that they NEED the lobbies to get elected.

    Yeah... Angelina Jolie.... mmmmmm.
    < "Tarpon Time"
    "Brady v Parker" >


    Older entries
    Blog RSS - Blog Comments RSS

    © 2008 Gregory Morris
    Notice: There are some areas of this website where everyone is permitted to post information. (In this case, information is defined as anything you can paste/type into an html form.) Do not post anything that cannot be legally put in the public domain. I have the absolute power to remove/modify/edit anything that is posted on this site. All original content on this website is owned solely by me, and cannot be redistributed without prior written consent. All information on this website is provided with absolutely no warranty. [Privacy Policy]
    Click Here for information about a
    FREE introduction to firearms
    safety and shooting.

    Answers to the
    Gun Control Questionnaire:
    Since this questionnaire began:
  • 'A' was selected 10916 times.
  • 'B' was selected 15302 times.
  • 'C' was selected 2741 times.
  • 'D' was selected 101235 times.


  • Search:



    Join The NRA!


    Second Amendment Foundation


    Ammo deals at Sportsman's Guide


    blab135x75.gif



    [288013]