Saturday, August 07, 2010

Bill Introduction Limits Needed

Cal Watchdog reports a bill has been introduced in the state legislature to ban the sale of "electrolyte replacement" beverages in public schools. The sponsor feels this necessary because the last bill that banned soft drinks hasn't achieved the desired results- those results being less obesity in school age kids.

Leaving the issue of obesity in kids aside, I have to agree with one of the comments to the story:

Here we have yet another example of legislators with way too much time on their hands. We need to establish a limit on the number of bills that each legislator can introduce each session. Not sure what criteria should be used to establish those limits or how low the limit should be, but something along the line of being able to count each legislator's introduced bills on one hand might be a place to start.

Hmmm...maybe a campaign issue for Karen Brooks, Wes Chesbro's Republican opponent in the state assembly race?



At 11:26 AM, Blogger Capdiamont said...

Personally, limit their ability to make laws to just that deal with the budget, until they fix the budget.

At 11:37 AM, Blogger J2Bad said...

Libertarians, I would think, would oppose those trying to arbitrarily limit the freedom of duly-elected democratic representatives to legislate. If you're only a "libertarian" when you like the laws being proposed, I think that's called something else.

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely Cap

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A campaign issue for Karen Brooks? That would be a good start.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Jen wrote, "Libertarians, I would think, would oppose those trying to arbitrarily limit the freedom of duly-elected democratic representatives to legislate.

Not at all. Even non- libertarians believe in some limits on government.

Aside from that, 9 out of 10 time- heck, probably more like 19 out of 20 times- most laws passed by the state legislature do one of the following:

1. Restrict your, or somebody else's, freedom.

2. Cost you or somebody else money.

3. Are redundant- meaning they simply pile more law on top of laws that already exist, or try to modify some law they already screwed up in the first place.

4. Shouldn't be the business of government in the first place, or...

5. All of the above.

Keep in mind that this doesn't mean legislators won't be able to pass laws. I'm just proposing there be a limit to the number of laws they can introduce in a legislative session.

Since much, if not most, of what the legislature does is contrary to individual freedom, limits on the legislature should always be supported by libertarians and, in fact, by most citizens.

To quote George Washington: Government is not reason, it is not eloquence. It is force, and like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

As our first president noted, government can be dangerous, and often is. There should be limits on what office holders can do.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger Rose said...

One problem is that it is a measure of how "successful" a legislator is - how many bills they can get passed. So in order to justify their existence they bring more and more and more restrictive and inane bills to the floor.

This nanny-statism that results is tragic. It is as if these people never lived in their own lives, never drank a pepsi and survived. And the disconnect, criminalizing pepsi and cheerios, but legalizing pot is crazy.

As for all this professed concern over kids' weight, here's a whole body of revelatory work on the "obesity" scare at junkfoodscience
quackwatch and
This site is devoted to the monitoring of the misleading numbers that rain down on us via the media. Whether they are generated by Single Issue Fanatics (SIFs), politicians, bureaucrats, quasi-scientists (junk, pseudo- or just bad), such numbers swamp the media, generating unnecessary alarm and panic. They are seized upon by media, hungry for eye-catching stories. There is a growing band of people whose livelihoods depend on creating and maintaining panic. There are also some who are trying to keep numbers away from your notice and others who hope that you will not make comparisons. Their stock in trade is the gratuitous lie. The aim here is to nail just a few of them.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

How about make them eliminate two laws for each one that they propose?

The word verification was "Brano", my nick name in grammar school. How weird is that?

At 10:11 PM, Blogger J2Bad said...

Who's Jen? It still sounds to me like you're just saying that politicians should do what you think instead of what other voters who aren't you think. It's not the limitations that are the problem, it's the arbitrary nature of the limitations you propose, based upon your idiosyncratic over-generalization about what all laws are. That's the sort of opinion that's going to change from law to law and person to person, and who gets to decide where the "stupid line" begins and ends? Why not make legislators stand on one foot and clap while they repeal six laws I don't like and forgive two traffic tickets for every new law they propose? That would be some serious governance, and it makes just as much sense from a practical standpoint. Plus, no traffic tickets.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

It's not the limitations that are the problem, it's the arbitrary nature of the limitations you propose, based upon your idiosyncratic over-generalization about what all laws are.

Jen is Humboldt Jen, who I assumed is you.

I realize my proposal is a bit arbitrary. That's why I also wrote, "Not sure what criteria should be used to establish those limits or how low the limit should be,...".

I don't think my observation of what laws passed in the state legislature do is an over- generalization at all.

Most of the time (I didn't say every law passed) bills passed in this state are an assault on our liberties, to say the least. Or they fall into other categories such as being something government shouldn't be involved with in the first place.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Oh, and keep in mind that my proposal doesn't mean more laws won't be passed. It's very typical of those who accept government involvement in every aspect of their lives to think complete anarchy will ensue if any limitations are placed on government.

I'm just saying that instead of introducing, say, one hundred bills each legislative session that will restrict your freedom, cost you money, or whatever, they could only introduce perhaps five.

Tyranny will still move forward, just not as fast.

And, as an aside, it would be interesting to hear from current and past state legislators. I'd be interested in seeing a list of the bills they introduced and, if they were subject to a five bill limit, which of the bills they introduced would end up in the five they'd be allowed under my proposal?

At 1:04 PM, Blogger J2Bad said...

Humboldt Jen is not me. You know what they say about assuming.

You didn't say "every law passed," but you did make a broad, arguable, overgeneralization about "19 out of 20 laws passed." Based upon nothing but your unsupported opinion.

You get the "arguable" part, right? Just because you say something doesn't make it so, which is why I called your proposal arbitrary. For example, you might say that a law prohibiting discrimination in some way against some particular minority group is an undue restriction of freedom, while someone from that minority group might see it differently. The point is arguable, and government is the place where arguable public policy positions get worked out, revised, updated, revoked, etc.

Your proposal sounds flawed in the same way that term limits proposal are flawed. You don't like the results of democracy as it exists in the US, so you want to slap new restraints onto the existing process like poorly-constructed bandaids. What you really oppose is the system of governance. In this country,the people elect legislators to do their bidding, and if the people don't like what comes, they vote for someone else. Despite all the influence of corporate interests, unions, political parties, and lobbyists, that power remains. And unfortunately, in a democracy, we get the government we deserve.

What you're proposing is just a short-cut end-run around the system because your views don't have the support of the people who vote. You want to take your ball and go home. But it's not your ball.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Oh. I see. Humboldt Jen is just a blog you follow.

You wrote, "Based upon nothing but your unsupported opinion."

It certainly is my opinion. That's what this blog is about. As far as "unsupported", that would have to be subjective. I'm sure you would probably opine that 19 out of 20 laws passed are good for this country and its people.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger J2Bad said...

Dude. The assumptions. You're "sure" about how I feel, huh? Based upon what, exactly? If I say something isn't black, does that make it white?

I would no more want to praise a random sample of 19 out of 20 laws than I would want to damn them. My whole point is that it's better to act based upon knowledge and good reasoning than unthinking overgeneralizations or practiced ignorance. Just because I don't think it's a good idea to arbitrarily limit the number of laws that lawmakers can pass doesn't automatically mean that I support every stupid law that gets passed.

I have nothing against opinions, but I prefer informed opinions. Or better yet, well-reasoned opinions that can stand up to examination. I have my own blog, and I use it to blow off steam, too, so I'm not saying you shouldn't voice your opinions on your blog. But that goes both ways. I didn't put that "comment" function on your blog.

I'm just saying that in a complex world, it might make sense to oppose or support laws based upon some kind of understanding or analysis of the law in question, rather than opposing all laws sight unseen, passing judgement based upon nothing or opposing laws based upon how many there are. As citizens of a participatory democracy, it seems to me like the more responsible thing to do is to oppose poor lawmakers and poor laws, not the fundamental power to legislate.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger J2Bad said...

Here's a good example of what I'm talking about. Over at Dave's blog, there's a post about a proposed law to prevent insurance companies from profiteering off of the death of US servicemen and women. I haven't examined it in detail, but based upon what I've read, I'd be inclined to support that sort of thing.

You might oppose such a law on principled libertarian grounds, because the law would infringe upon the rights of those insurance douchebags and their war profiteering, and I'd welcome the debate. But as a supporter of something like that, I'd feel slighted if you just opposed the idea of making a law without bothering to take an informed stance, simply because all laws are equally offensive to you. I would even argue that it would be disrespectful to deny the survivors of US servicemen and women killed overseas the possibility of such legal redress, say, if the lawmaker in question had already proposed her five alloted laws of the session. There are probably lots of examples like that, because no one passes a law for no reason.


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