A random thought hit me today while driving home listening to a story about the just “resolved” debt crisis. I thought I would love to help shape the path this country was taking, but I do not want to be a lawmaker. I do not want to make laws. I would want to help make policy and get it implemented. In this country we do this primarily by making laws. Kinda weird when you think about it. The same process that makes rape illegal also defines how much to pay seniors their pensions. Anyway I digress.
I was thinking I would like to be an anti-lawmaker. I would spend my time as a legislator making laws that got rid of laws (I believe that is how it works). Now what laws would I get rid of? Well I would run a contest like California Senator Joe Simitian’s “There Ought to Be a law” contest, just in reverse. Put down in writing what law you would like to see wear the proverbial concrete shoes along with full statistics and analysis on why and how it would improve conditions in the country. These would be fully vetted, fact checked and analyzed and then if they pass muster sent on their merry way to becoming a bill.
Now I get to my point. What if ALL communications to our legislators happened this way? Everything in writing with full facts, stats and analysis. So Mr. Lobbyist, you think that I should sponsor a bill to give big pharma an extension on patent protection when you change the color of your pill? Well, make your case, in writing with full analysis. Oh and by the way (and this is the real kicker,) I am going to immediately post it to my web site. Once my staff has finished their analysis, that will be posted on the web site. All correspondence about it will be posted. Called me up to try and bypass the paper trail. No problem, the audio of call will be posted.
All communications will be made public this way with a few exceptions. Citizens who call their representative for help with personal matters would not have their problems broadcast unless they request it. Contract negotiations and some other similar sensitive issues will not be made public right away, but would still be fully recorded and made public as soon as possible.
The same communication line that a lobbyist would use could also be used, as easily, by any citizen. A small group of concerned citizens could just as easily propose legislation as a multi-billion dollar company.
If every local, state and federal legislator, committee member and board member followed this model our government would work much better and it would work more for the betterment of everyone rather than a select and wealthy few.
I call this the 1 billion candle-power sunshine law.
What are your thoughts? Could this work? (Assuming anyone had the cojones to actually try this.) How would you make this idea better?
Filed under: Politics