DrDeke
Topic Author
Posts: 805
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 7:13 am

Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 6:45 am

There is a (presumably small) movement afoot in the United States to get Congress to pass a law which would require all bills to be voted on in Congress to be read out loud in Congress prior to the vote, and would also require each voting Congressperson to sign an affidavit that he or she had either attended the reading or personally read the text of the bill before voting.

While I think this has about a snowball's chance in Hell of ever coming to pass, it seems like a rather good idea to me at first glance. Here is the website of the organization promoting this bill:

http://www.downsizedc.org/read_the_laws.shtml

Take a look if you're curious. I'll be interested to hear what you all think.

DrDeke
If you don't want it known, don't say it on a phone.
 
MaidensGator
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 6:53 am

Quoting DrDeke (Thread starter):
While I think this has about a snowball's chance in Hell of ever coming to pass, it seems like a rather good idea to me at first glance.

I agree with your odds of it passing... I don't think you could read the annual US Budget cover to cover if you spent the whole year that it applies to. And that's only one of many Bills...
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
 
MDorBust
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 6:54 am

Sign an affidavit that they read the bill?

Uh no.

Get the full congress in there and read the full bill from begining to end.
"I KICKED BURNING TERRORIST SO HARD IN BALLS THAT I TORE A TENDON" - Alex McIlveen
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 6:55 am

Quoting DrDeke (Thread starter):
Take a look if you're curious. I'll be interested to hear what you all think.

I think it's interesting, to say the least. I have the feeling that most in Congress barely read the executive summary for most bills. This part, though, would be the most difficult to enforce:

"Each bill, and every amendment, must be read in its entirety before a quorum in both the House and Senate."

I doubt with their schedules we could get a quorum long enough for every bill to be read aloud.
International Homo of Mystery
 
MDorBust
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:00 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 3):
I doubt with their schedules we could get a quorum long enough for every bill to be read aloud.

I guess we'll just have to cut out some congressional breaks then won't we?

Wouldn't it be nice to see a session of congress that was actually in session?
"I KICKED BURNING TERRORIST SO HARD IN BALLS THAT I TORE A TENDON" - Alex McIlveen
 
767Lover
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Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2003 6:32 am

RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:03 am

Wow...I did not realize the extent at which bills were not being read or understood before voting.

This seems like a good idea, if nothing else to curtail the amount of time/energy/resources spent on such legislation as renaming Post Offices and federal buildings.


Bills will shrink, be less complicated, and contain fewer subjects, so that Congress will be able to endure hearing them read.

Maybe this will prevent things sort of being hidden in bills.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:14 am

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 4):
Wouldn't it be nice to see a session of congress that was actually in session?

Yes, in fact it would!
International Homo of Mystery
 
RichardPrice
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:16 am

Theres a reason politicians have staff, and this is one of them - the actual elected official doesnt need to have read or even understood the entire bill before voting, all he has to do is have a trusted staff that have read and understood the bill that also understand the elected officials stance on issues. The staff then give a 'highlights only' verson, and suggest voting one way or another, or who needs to be talked to prior to voting. Thats how it works.

What is a requirement to read a 10,000 page legal document going to change? You really think a single person is going to remember what was at the start of that document when they reach the end?
 
fumanchewd
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:20 am

I have an Uncle who helps write the bills. He says that many are hundreds of pages. They also tag all kinds of irrelevant crap onto them just to supplicate the various parties voting on them. A bill on highways might have a 10 page portion talking about beaver hunting.
In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey...
 
RichardPrice
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:23 am

Quoting Fumanchewd (Reply 8):
I have an Uncle who helps write the bills. He says that many are hundreds of pages. They also tag all kinds of irrelevant crap onto them just to supplicate the various parties voting on them. A bill on highways might have a 10 page portion talking about beaver hunting.

Those are called 'riders', and need to be dealt with as a seperate issue.

Now what does need close scrutiny is the ability for a Congressional member to 'extend and revise the official record', which goes far beyond the mere grammatical amendments - they can rewrite their entire remark, add information or remove information from the official record.

In short, the 'official record' is anything but an accurate record, they can monkey around with it considerably.
 
767Lover
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:47 am

Quoting Fumanchewd (Reply 8):
beaver hunting.

Well now you've done it. This thread is going to rapidly deteriorate.
 
Pope
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:52 am

You guys want to know the real dirty little secret about Congress. Most of the time on bills of any real size that have to go through the conference process, there is nothing to read because they are passing the bill before it's even been printed. Technically, on most appropriation bills there isn't anything that can even be read. On tax bills, the Joint Committee on Taxation doesn't even issue its "blue book" (the committee's interpretation of what the bill contains) until weeks or months after the bill has been enacted. If the committee doesn't even know what's in the bill, how is a member of Congress who isn't on the committee and therefore hasn't attended a single hearing on the matter supposed to know?

When I interned on the hill, summers of '91 and '92, when the bells rung to signify a floor vote, the member of Congress's beeper would go off and contain a message which usually only had one word - YEA or NEA. It's how the party whips would communicate what the party's position was on the matter. I would bet that 95+% of the time most MoC's had absolutely no idea what they were voting for.
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
halls120
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:06 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 3):
Quoting DrDeke (Thread starter):Take a look if you're curious. I'll be interested to hear what you all think.
I think it's interesting, to say the least. I have the feeling that most in Congress barely read the executive summary for most bills. This part, though, would be the most difficult to enforce:

"Each bill, and every amendment, must be read in its entirety before a quorum in both the House and Senate."

I doubt with their schedules we could get a quorum long enough for every bill to be read aloud.

It would be a perfect way to grind Congress to a halt. Given the length of most pieces of legislation, I doubt the sponsors have a viable bill. Besides, reading wouldn't accomplish much. Staff drafts legislation, not the average representative or senator. I'd bet many congressional sponsors of legislation haven't read the bills they propose.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
TedTAce
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RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:06 am

Quoting Pope (Reply 11):
I would bet that 95+% of the time most MoC's had absolutely no idea what they were voting for.

That's absolutely effing disgusting. No wonder 'our' government is no longer 'ours'.
This space intentionally left blank
 
halls120
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Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:24 am

RE: Read The Bills Act

Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:18 am

Quoting Pope (Reply 11):
Most of the time on bills of any real size that have to go through the conference process, there is nothing to read because they are passing the bill before it's even been printed.

Yep.

Real story from yesterday on the hill. we are trying to attach some language to a bill drafted by a committee in the House. It is competing with a bill that has some subject matter overlap with a bill coming from another committee. So our leg affairs people go up and meet with both staff, and get an agreement from both staffs to include our language. So yesterday the first bill is reported out of committee - in a race to beat the competing measure - and when we read it, the language isn't there. Seems the staff, in a hurry to get their bill reported out, sent the wrong version to the Clerk.

Your government hard at work once more!
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
DrDeke
Topic Author
Posts: 805
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 7:13 am

RE: Read The Bills Act

Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:08 am

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 12):
It would be a perfect way to grind Congress to a halt.

I think that's more-or-less the idea. We have a ridiculous number of federal laws in this country, and if Congress had to pay attention to laws they create, maybe we wouldn't have as many unnecessary ones.

DrDeke
If you don't want it known, don't say it on a phone.

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