Monday, June 25, 2007

Readthebill.org

"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood." - James Madison


I came across a blurb in the Wall Street Journal which mentioned a relatively new organization called Readthebill.org founded by Rafael DeGennaro, a registered independent.

The organization's inspiration is Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the rules of the U.S. Senate and founded the Library of Congress. Their mission is to promote transparency in government to revitalize American democracy. ReadtheBill.org seeks only transparent process and does not support or oppose policy on substance, and it is non-partisan and philosophically independent from the two major parties.

Their most recent initiative, supported by numerous groups including the National Taxpayers Union and Common Cause, is to have legislation posted online 72 hours prior to any debate in Congress. They believe that doing so "will harness the collective intelligence of thousands of American to ensure someone reads the bills."

If in doubt about whether or not such a requirement is needed, just take a few minutes to read these comments by legislators - comments which clearly demonstrate that our Congress routinely passes laws without having any idea about what such laws require.

And then take the time to encourage your congressional delegation to support this initiative as well.

5 comments:

Brian said...

Well consider Congress had 15 minutes to review the Patriot Act, which is over 330 pages in length, before voting on it.

Hooda Thunkit said...

What he proposes is heresy, congress doesn't want us, let alone their fellow legislators knowing what legislation is about.

Why, why, that's positively un-American!

:-)

Maggie Thurber said...

radical - eh, Hooda???

Jill said...

Maggie - did you know about this case in Wisconsin!?

http://ncsl.typepad.com/the_thicket/2007/06/separation-of-p.html

Along the very same lines.

Maggie Thurber said...

Jill - thanks for the link!

I know that some draft documents in Ohio are not considered 'public' but if you're going to share drafts with certain people or groups, then go ahead and share them with the public in general.

The County used to publish their draft agendas, until I blogged about something on one of the drafts and then it was no longer available on line...now, the BCC agenda usually isn't available until Monday for a Tuesday meeting.

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