Monday, July 16, 2007

More Bills than They Could Ever Read

In New York, over 15,000 bills were introduced in the state legislature this year. Fewer than 800 passed. The number of introduced bills is significantly higher than any other state.

Those numbers have led some legislators to support legislation limiting the number of bills that can be filed. Legislative leaders oppose such limits on the grounds that lawmakers should not be restricted in their ability to represent their districts.

In theory, that argument should carry the day. However, pressure to remedy the insufferably inefficient and expensive system comes about because legislators abuse the process. Most of these bills are filed for political reasons (as favors, or to show off to constituents at election time) with the knowledge that they will never receive any consideration. This problem is growing. While New York is far ahead of everyone else, many other states are seeing record numbers of bills filed.

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