Rep. John Kavanagh, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said, “… if we leave without passing bills, it will be a great disservice to the people of Arizona.” Kavanagh said he thinks the House should strive to pass at least 100 bills this session.
I have one question for you John; Why?
Is that the only purpose you serve is to pass bills? While there are many examples of the lunacy of such thinking – and I invite readers to render their own – I can think of one glaring example of the legislative desire to simply pass bills, the Alternative Fuels Tax Credit of a couple of years ago.
Is it about being relevant? Do members of the state legislature and senate have that insecure feeling that if they don’t produce reams of paper and pages of bills, that somehow they’re not doing their jobs? Perhaps they fret that if they don’t pass copious piles of bills, they won’t have anything to put on their re-election websites? Or could it be that they owe too many special interests and, inattention to this client group would mean a loss of re-election funds come the next ritualistic campaign cycle?
What could possibly be more important to the people of Arizona than a fiscally sound state government? Shouldn’t “Priority One” every opening session be the financial condition of the state? One would think so.
Have you ever noticed that every time the Legislature asks for a raise, the voters overwhelmingly say “NO”? I confess, I voted in favor of the raise this last time around. After all, this is the 21st Century and, well, the only talent you can attract for the peanuts we pay them, is what we have. You pay for what you get, or in our case McRepresentative and fries more concerned with “writing bills” than addressing what is truly important.
While I disagree with our Governor over the how, I fully support her efforts to address the crisis. Likewise, while I do not know what will emerge from the Senate, I applaud leadership’s commitment to being tightly focused on the crisis at hand.
So what’s Kavanagh whining about?
Here’s my suggestion to the Arizona State Legislature. We have too many bills, laws, codes and curlicues already – enough is enough. There is no issue so pressing that some legislator simply must write a bill. This isn’t academia where Publish or Perish has led to perdition. We’re talking about managing our state’s government.
So why not try this: Every 3rd year, set aside a special second session for one purpose, sorting out and tossing out existing laws and codes and ARS and the like that are no longer relevant, applicable to the present, or just plain seem dumb.
In this special second session, leadership (no matter who’s in charge) shall require each member of the lower house and each member of the senate to bring to the bill burning party at least 5 pieces of prior legislation from days gone by. Those will in turn be reviewed by committee and moved on to the COW for a vote up or down – either they’re kept or they get deleted.
Our state government with its myriad of laws, codes, and such is much like your home computer – you don’t need more hard drive, you just need to flush some files occasionally.