Friday, November 16, 2007

Read The Bills Act

You may notice a new banner on the right side of the page (until I change my layout again). This banner leads you to a site called DownsizeDC that I have mentioned a couple of times in my posts. DownsizeDC's overall goal is to reduce the size of the federal government (bet you couldn't guess that by the name), and the main push right now to accomplish that is their "Read the Bills Act." Congress passes hundreds of laws every year, most of them are hundreds and hundreds of pages long. There is no way that each representative and senator voting on the bill has read the entire bill. Plus there are usually last minute changes to bills, often done in secret, before a vote is held and the practice of adding an unpopular proposal to a bill that no one wants to vote against (this is how the internet gambling law got passed, it was piggybacked on a bill dealing w/ port security (shipping ports, not network ports :) ). The "Read the Bills Act" requires that...

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

  • Every member of the House and Senate must sign a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that he or she has attentively either personally read, or heard read, the complete bill to be voted on.

  • Every old law coming up for renewal under the sunset provisions must also be read according to the same rules that apply to new bills.

  • Every bill to be voted on must be published on the Internet at least 7 days before a vote, and Congress must give public notice of the date when a vote will be held on that bill.

  • Passage of a bill that does not abide by these provisions will render the measure null and void, and establish grounds for the law to be challenged in court.
    Congress cannot waive these requirements.

quoted from DownsizeDC

We have allowed our representatives to vote on and pass laws that they don't understand for too long. I urge you to write your representatives and ask them to support and/or sponsor this bill. DownsizeDC has a very nice system where you can register and they will automatically send your message to your representatives based on your address. They have a standard message they send and you can add your own personal message as well.

More information about Read the Bills Act

Information about another important effort the "One Subject at a Time" bill (to prevent them from tacking on unpopular proposals onto bills no one wants to vote against)

If you can and want to, please contribute to DownsizeDC. When a big corporation or industry wants to get a law passed, they throw millions of dollars at Congress through lobbyists.

And while you have your debit/credit card out, swing by Ron Paul's site and donate.