Legislators get lazy

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The job description must have mentioned it, but somewhere along the way, the task has been neglected by our legislators.

Apparently, the people we elect to represent us in the making of the laws that affect us are no longer required to read the legislation on which they vote. This may sound like a terrible joke at first, but it is
sadly the reality of the situation.

Our lawmakers really do not read the bills before they cast their votes in favor of or against them.
How do they know what they are voting for? The truth is that they cannot know the specifics of the legislation without reading it.

Our Congressional representatives have interns who read the entire bill and summarize it for them, but should our representatives really vote based on the summary of a bill in question?

A summary can miss some important key points. When students use spark notes to study for a British  literature exam, they usually do not do well on the test because they do not know the little details that make a world of difference in the book. Our lawmakers’ tests are far too important for a summary. The laws are written to be read and understood.

Individual legislators are not always entirely to blame for not reading the bills, though. Sometimes, in the

House and the Senate, votes are taken before a bill is even finished being written. Impossible, you say? Not for our super-representatives. They use their powers to see the future to guess what the specifics of the bill will be and use that to make their decision. The irony that this situation takes place in our legislative branch of government is even more comical.

Critics say that if Congress reads every bill, nothing would ever get done, and the process of passing laws would take way too long. Many of Senate and the House are well over one thousand pages long.

Our representatives should read the legislation though, even if it takes more time to pass laws. In this way, the members of Congress could make a well-educated vote, instead of a rushed and possibly If the people who are supposed to represent us in the making of our laws do not read the bills they vote on, what influences their decisions? Some legislators seem to have adopted the “if you vote for mine, I’ll vote for yours” mentality. A Senator may want to pass a certain bill, and in order to get others to go along with him, he will vote for bills they want to pass. If this really is how some legislation passes in Congress, we as Americans are not being represented fairly and honestly.

A vote on the recent health care bill was attempted in the House before any legislators had read the document. Luckily, someone looked at the importance of this issue and said, “Wait a minute. Maybe
we should read this first.” The outcome of the vote on this health care bill could change America forever. It should be thoroughly read and understood by all involved before a vote is taken.

An organization called Downsize DC is taking action on this issue of legislators not reading the laws. They have submitted copies of their “Read the Bills Act” to every member of Congress, and are asking them to sponsor it and work for its passage. To learn more, visit www.downsizedc. org/page/read_the_laws.

Author: Garrett Pekar

Garrett is a sophomore mass communication/journalism major from Granger, Texas. He is the opinions page editor for The Bells. Garrett is also an RA in McLane Hall as well as member of the men’s tennis team. His hobbies include spending quality time with friends and family, listening to music and playing some of his own on the guitar.

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