Even an extra day to study may not be enough

January 24, 2014 

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has drawn contempt -- and rightly so -- for declaring in 2010 that the House had to “pass the bill (the Affordable Care Act) so that” we could “find out what’s in it.” Georgia lawmakers have been using the same tactic -- on purpose or by accident -- for decades. Now, state Sen. Joshua McKoon, R-Columbus, wants to do something about the mad scramble at the end of each session, where measures are passed by lawmakers who haven’t a clue what’s in them. McKoon wants to give lawmakers at least one day to read a bill before voting on it. Even that modest proposal may run into a buzz saw. It’s modest because the number of bills voted on in the final hours of the legislative session is enormous -- and quite frankly -- are written in legalease. Some lawmakers wouldn’t see the unintended consequences hiding in a bill if they had a week to study it. There’s no one in either caucus with the wherewithal of the late Rep. Denmark Groover. Democratic and Republican lawmakers would take proposals to him to have them “Grooverized” before submitting them.

Too many times the House uses the Senate as an editor and vice versa as they rush to sine die. The old saw about comparing lawmaking to sausage making -- something you don’t want to see in process -- is correct.

Shouldn’t those casting a vote at least have an idea what the law is all about. One never knows if an extra spice has been put in the casing that will cause indigestion down the road.

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