Here is one of the problems we continue to face in state government: There are just too many bills being filed in the Legislature. The deadline tomorrow for filing new bills will see close to 2,200 bills being tossed into the grinder, and while that is fewer than last year, it’s far beyond what is necessary.
A lot of those bills won’t make it into law, of course, which means a lot of time will have been wasted in writing them.
Most of them are being filed at the behest of special interests or in the interest of cajoling the lobbyists who represent the special interests.
Few of them will be read by the senators and Assembly members expected to understand them enough to vote on them.
Hearings will be held on these bills, but they won’t be meaningful because there are so many the time set aside for hearings on all but a few bills will be negligible. Most of the laws that result from these bills will do little to change life in the state, but probably will cost money to enforce.
And they will go on forever unless something happens to cancel them out.
It would be a good idea if more laws had sunset clauses — the requirement that after a few years, perhaps five or 10 — they would cease to be in effect and taken off the books. Only by reintroduction could any law last more than the time allowed by the sunset clause. Reintroduction would require hearings and passage by both houses. This would mean a lot of laws that turned out to be unneeded — which is most — would wind up as history.
Such a requirement would mean a new law, of course. Darn it.