I don’t even know where to begin on this one folks.
With SJR 7 – Joint Resolution on Priority Status for Bills, Senator Margaret Dayton (R – Orem – District 15) is such an overt attempt to squelch the rights of the political minority that it sounds more like the fiat of a third world dictator than that of a modern democracy.
SJR 7, in no uncertain terms, would give any bill proposed by the minority party in the legislature automatic “second class” status. Furthermore, it comes up with absurd requirements for drafting legislation to begin with.
The resolution does three things: makes bill drafting a “first come, first served” affair, places a priority of bill drafting by legislators when requesting bills, and requires that any bill that is prioritized by majority vote of an interim committee be drafted first.
So, lets look at the situation.
I am a Democratic lawmaker who wises to pass comprehensive education reform, so I go to legislative research (the folks who actually draft the legalese part of bills) and ask for this bill to be put together. Well, that is just super, but, unfortunately, your Republican colleagues don’t want to see this happen, so they made sure to flood leg research with dozens (if not hundreds) of fluff bills beforehand, thereby tying up resources to get your bill through in a timely manner – your bill is diligently worked on, but not released until it is to late. All because of the “first come-first serve” basis. Yes, even if your bill is a half-cocked mess, you still get priority over a bill that has been well researched and ready to go out of the gates.
But, lets suppose you came to the front of the line and ask that your bill be properly prepared. Whelp, that still is a problem because, again, Republican leaders have come up with a backup plan. Flood leg research with committee (read Republican dominated) requested bills.
Oh ho – but SJR 7 specifically says that those bills are to be drafted on a first come, first served basis before committee bills are recognized. But does anyone honestly believe that, in a culture where legislators already throw their weight around to get their bills out, they will somehow not do the same when there are seven or eight of them?
This bill is designed to do one thing, and one thing only – make it harder for Democrats to get their bills out and, therefore, make it harder for them to pass any legislation that they feel is important. Dayton has been known as a bully for years, and this bill is just further proof of that.
To contact Sen. Dayton, Click Here or call 801-221-0623
Questions about the rating system? Click Here
To view other bills in the 2012 Bills to Watch series, Click Here