Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > Lora Hubbel’s idea for legislative bills

Lora Hubbel’s idea for legislative bills

December 5, 2013

Today I noticed the following post in the Lora Hubbel for Governor 2014 Facebook feed:


Facebook Post from Lora Hubbel for Governor – 2014

I think this is an excellent topic to talk about as the next South Dakota legislative session approaches. Here are my thoughts (both good and bad) on each of Ms Hubbel’s ideas for the South Dakota legislature:

  1. No bill over 20 pages long will be a viable bill….
    This is an idea that sounds good in theory, but I’m not sure I like the reality of it. Large bills covering a variety of topics is definitely a problem. Keeping bills at twenty or under pages would be a way to prevent large bills to be passed that have multiple topics. It would also appear to be harder to ‘hide’ favors for special interest groups if the bills were kept to a smaller size. However I don’t necessarily agree this rule would fix the problem. Even if the legislature agreed to the rule I don’t think it would fix the problem of multiple topics or hidden favors for special interests. It at most would force certain large bills to be passed in a series of smaller bills and almost give a false impression that legislators are ‘doing more’. It would also make it potentially harder to find favors for special interest groups because those favors could be spread out between bills. That would increase the difficulty to connect the dots for those of us trying to determine the true consequences of legislation. So while I like the idea, I just don’t think it will fix anything in implementation.
  2. EVERY legislator must sign an affidavit that he/she has READ the bill before they may vote on it…
    This idea I love! I would actually take this one step further. South Dakota actually has a pretty good LRC website for viewing and tracking bills/votes. I would add a section to the website where legislators can comment on their votes. These don’t have to be long reasons; just one or two sentences with the reasoning behind the yes or no vote. That way when we look back at legislators records we can see what they were thinking at the time. For an idea of how this works I would use Justin Amash’s Facebook page as an example (I posted about Amash’s Facebook page back in May). The only difference from what Amash is doing is that I would have the comments linked to each vote on the LRC website.
  3. EVERY bill must have an introductory WHEREAS preceding the bill. OR the WHY for introducing this bill (we go over old law and guess at the intent…this way we will know the intent of the original bill.
    This is another idea I fully support. I actually can’t believe it is not a bill design rule already. If a WHEREAS or WHY statement cannot be made for a bill, that in itself would show that bill is not viable. Any part of the bill that does not work to progress the WHEREAS or WHY statement would not be allowed in a bill. I believe that could potentially do more to stop multiple topics than keeping bills to less than 20 pages.
    This is a tough one. I agree with what Ms Hubbel is saying here. But since South Dakota has such a short legislative session there are times when bills must be brought from the executive branch. But in those cases they should be brought to legislators that actually introduce the bill on to the floor. That would force the executive branch to work with the legislature; in contrast to now when it seems the legislature actually works for the governor at times. I like the Ms Hubbel’s idea here, it just needs to be worked out.

Overall I like that Lora is bringing ideas like this forward and hope to see proposals on a variety of topics from all candidates (in all offices up for election). Even though I disagree with a couple of Hubbel’s ideas I think she has created a good starting point for discussing legislative bill rules and brought attention to the fact things could be done better.

  1. Merlyn Schutterle
    December 5, 2013 at 11:59 am

    There needs ti be law that requires a site where issues can be debated by the people and where the legislators and governor must respond. There is no open forum now where we can ask questions and get answers. The debates need to be going on all year, not just in January where we don’t really know if our concerns are being addressed or not.

    • Ken Santema
      December 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      That would be a great addition to the LRC website. Allow ‘we the people’ to speak up in an open forum. That is definitely worth considering.

      • Merlyn Schutterle
        December 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm

        That would put a little more democracy in our republic form of government. They like to say we are a democracy, but we are not.

  2. July 13, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of
    your great post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: