Monday, April 30, 2007

Are we passing too many laws in TN? YES!!

Most Tennessee State lawmakers do not take the time to thoroughly read and understand all the bills they vote on. At the very most they may hear a summary of the bill in their committee and an even briefer summary on the floor. In many cases the committee chairperson will not even allow the sponsor to fully describe the bill. They cut off the sponsor before they have time to give even a brief summary, recognize a motion and second on the bill, and immediately proceed to a vote without any discussion.

Even the members who sponsor bills often are not very familiar with the bills. One thing that becomes very apparent as you watch videos from the Tennessee Legislative web site is how many bills are "carried" by a single lawmaker. These are the lawmakers who sponsor the bills and push them through the committee process. Some lawmakers carry over 100 bills. There is absolutely NO WAY a single lawmaker can be knowledgeable about this many bills. They must rely on expert witnesses and lobbyists who, in many cases wrote the bill. Many sponsors automatically defer to expert witnesses.

Many lawmakers would probably say, "there is no way we can read all these bills." That is of course THE POINT!!