Cut big on overlong session
The state House of Representatives has made another strong pitch for cutting the legislative session, and by an overwhelming margin. And this year, the House would take its proposal to the voters.
You know it would pass.
The proposal would cut the legislative session by two full months. Instead of January-June, the session would extend from February to May. Because the starting date set forth in the state Constitution would be changed, the plan would require a statewide referendum.
The shorter session would force the Legislature to make priorities, pace itself and restrain the impulse to public bloviation in the legislative chambers.
Actually, the House does a good job of getting its work done, and in recent years has taken one or two weeks off, saving the taxpayers a substantial sum as a result.
But the Senate typically lags far behind on the efficiency front, and all too often attempts to finish some of its most important business as the session is coming to its deadline to end.
And that often means that important legislation either doesn’t get done, or is done too hurriedly.
The Senate’s inability to conduct its business in a timely manner has derailed major reform legislation.
Unfortunately, even as the House has regularly approved measures to shorten the session, the Senate has failed to even consider the notion. The latest vote in the House, incidentally, was 91-9.
The Constitution clearly envisioned a shorter session when it stated that legislators were to be paid for 40 days of legislative work. A shorter session supports the idea of a citizen Legislature whose members don’t have to be full-time legislators.
The House proposal would allow that idea to be revived. The Senate should comply, and give the voters a chance to have their say, too.