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The importance of Single Subject Legislation

By       Message Doug Dingus       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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We don't need discussions about flag burning, gay marriage, etc... These things divide us and distract from the issues that matter most.

We do need clear debate and legislation aimed at addressing the minimum wage, health care issues, alternative energy, and many other issues. The recent election results clearly indicate we agree on the need for serious change.

Imagine the following visual, a good friend of mine came up with:

Speaker Pelosi gives a brief speech while holding two pieces of legislation, one in each hand. The one in her right hand is a thick stack of papers, difficult for her to hold high. In her left hand, we see a few sheets of paper. She introduces single subject legislation to the American people as a means to strengthen the Democrats vision of a better congress going forward.

She then can talk about how that book gets created. Industry insiders help to draft legislation that helps them and not the American people. Back room deals and riders end up tagging along with must vote legislation that denies Americans the accountability and public debate our system of checks and balances is supposed to provide.

As she sets the heavy book down, she contrasts all of that with the light weight single subject legislation. It's essentially an up or down vote on issues that matter. Debate is properly framed to address the issue at hand, not hidden amidst volumes of irrelevancy. Americans can see how their elected representatives vote and know their interests are front and center.

This combined with some nice sound bytes would make the case perfectly for single subject legislation with some serious impact!

Some sound byte ideas:

cram and scam

pack and pass

muddy -vs- clear

wheel and deal

blur and slur

force vote -vs- up or down vote

one issue, one vote. (You get the idea.)

Done right, the whole package would provide a nice framework for positioning the issues that matter to Americans front and center where only a VETO pen stands between them.

We've seen a lot of nasty stuff passed as riders that are essentially a force vote with no real accountability attached. Nobody wants this, but the special interests who depend on massive legislation to achieve their goals.

Single subject legislation would make for a clear voting record, thus bringing a high degree of accountability to the table. It would also sharply diminish the power of the special interest lobby as well.

There are other benefits too. With less overall complexity and wheeling and dealing, more issues can be addressed at a time. Congress will not only be more transparent, but more productive as well. We might as well get as much as we can out of the time we have earned right now. Single subject legislation will make this time count.

Single subject legislation is a non-partisan issue that will benefit all Americans.

The American people, now more than ever, need a congress that can set the agenda to address things that actually matter. Instead of divisive issues and muddy legislation, we get some real debate on issues that matter with clean and clear legislation everyone can understand.

The American people have voted for change. I say give it to them, one clean and clear piece at a time. In the end, we will see who the real obstructionists are and act accordingly in '08!


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The author currently lives in Portland Oregon and is interested in matters where society, the law and technology collide.

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