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Monday, March 06, 2006

the sunlight rule

On March 3, Congressman Ron Paul proposed an important change in House rules. Excerpts:
Mr. Speaker, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” In order to shine sunlight on the practices of the House of Representatives, and thus restore public trust and integrity to this institution, I am introducing the "Sunlight Rule." This measure amends House rules to ensure members have adequate time to study a bill before being asked to vote on it...

My proposed rule requires that no piece of legislation, including conference reports, can be brought before the House of Representatives unless it has been available to members and staff both in print and electronic versions for at least ten days. My bill also requires that a manager’s amendment making substantive changes to a bill be available in both printed and electronic forms at least 72 hours before a vote....
I believe this would be an extremely beneficial rule change, not only to cut down on last-minute requests for more pork, but also to give adequate time to consider lengthy bills such as the PATRIOT act. But I can just hear the objections already: "The terrorists aren't going to wait 10 days! We must be able to ram legislation through Congress in a couple of hours so we can protect you! Blah blah blah blah blah..."

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