Monday, July 23, 2007

no more blank bills

The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research has taken on the inherently corrupt practice in the General Assembly of filing "blank bills." The post-Black era has put us in the mood for reform, and these folks have picked an excellent target.

Here's how it works. The deadline to file a bill for consideration in the General Assembly is relatively early in the session. But you are allowed to file a bill with just a title, so you can fill in the actual legislation later. The idea was first floated to allow for local bills where the details were still being worked out. But it quickly became abused to the point where blank bills ended up becoming quite substantial pieces of legislation snuck in at the end of the session without any time for review by legislators, much less the public. That's how video poker got banned in a bill allegedly about education, to name just one example.

The linked article gives an example:

Senate Bill 54, "Public Laws."

"A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO AMEND THE PUBLIC LAWS OF NORTH CAROLINA. The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: SECTION 1. This act amends the public laws of North Carolina. SECTION 2. This act is effective when it becomes law."

Period. The end. Ridiculous.

Now the House banned blank bills this session, but the Senate still allows them. Maybe Mark Basnight will have to go to jail before this thoroughly anti-democratic practice finally comes to an end. If the people don't have the time and opportunity to tell their elected representatives what they think about any bill, then that bill should not be passed.


Post a Comment

<< Home