Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shorten the Session

I've seen no studies confirming my theory, but I would bet, based on observation and intuition alone, that it's valid.

I believe there's a direct correlation between the length of time a state legislature meets each year and the fiscal and financial health of the state in question. The shorter the session, the better off the state, in terms of its tax and regulatory climate, its economic circumstances, its overall quality of life. States where full-time legislators meet year-round, or for most of the year -- California comes to mind -- tend to be basketcases, while states with part-time, citizen-legislators -- like Wyoming, where lawmakers adjourned weeks ago -- are much better off.

The most dangerous thing in the world is a legislator with too much time on her hands. That's what turns so-called lawmakers into law-manufacturers. Make-work legislating is a dire threat to our pocketbooks, our personal liberties, our economic prosperity. The shorter the session, the safer we all are from overreaching and overweening government.

We aren't so bad off in Colorado, with a legislative session that lasts 120 days. Only a few weeks more and we'll be in the clear, at least for a year. But a lot of damage still can be done to a state in 120 days, as we've seen this session. That's why I like the idea, floated by State Sen. Gail Schwartz, a Democrat from Snowmass Village, of limiting the legislative session to 100 days. The idea won an endorsement today from The Pueblo Chieftain. And it has my support as well, for what that's worth.

In my opinion, the state would benefit immensely from a session of just 50 days, or 75 days. Think of all the mischief legislators couldn't make under such circumstances. But 100 days at least represents a step in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

Sean, FYI Robert Gardner, Rep for House District 21, from the Springs, also submitted legislation to shorten the session earlier this year. It did not pass, unfortunately.

Laura Benjamin said...

Agreed. It's well known within corporate circles that the shorter the time allowed for a meeting, the more productive the meeting tends to be! And the old adage is true, if you want something done (right), give it to a busy person. Those with tons of time on their hands to get around to it, usually expand their activities to fill the time allowed.