Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In which I agree with Shawn Mitchell... a little bit

Writing in the Denver Post voter guide Shawn Mitchell states

Colorado is awash in too many silly proposals for new laws, driven largely by politicians seeking headlines. Among them, the 100 legislators usually propose over 800 new laws *every year* 5 each for members of the minority, and more than that from the majority. We already have a bookshelf full of laws on the books. Hearings and debate on so many bills are rushed and superficial. Colorado should shorten the legislative session and reduce the number of bills that lawmakers can introduce.

I actually agree with his concern over there being too many new bills being introduced. Even Speaker Romanoff has chided his colleagues for treating the 5 bill limit like  a "2 drink minimum." If you've ever spent any significant time reviewing the bills being proposed and making their way through the process it can be rather eye opening. Is Colorado in such a state of dissaray that we need 600 or 700 new laws every year? I think not. 

That said I actually disagree with his fix. The legislative session should be longer and we should pay legislators a salary more in line with their status as full time legislators. I know, I know - technically they are only "part-time" but in reality when they are out of session members of the General Assembly work on legislation, meet with constituents etc. nearly every day. Let's extend the legislative session to give the legislators more time to work on the big issues facing the state and lets pay them a salary that is more in line with the work we expect from our legislators. 

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