Legislature Reform Plan
All political power resides in the people.
They LOAN that power to their elected representatives who to be are
stewards of that power and must truly represent their
Political power should NOT be
concentrated in a few hands, but should be distributed evenly
among the originators and representatives of that power. (e.g.
“one man, one vote”).
Subject to the constraints in the
Constitution, the majority will of a representative body rules.
Only a few of the People's representatives
– those in leadership – set the legislative agenda
and the rest are relegated, at best, to vote yea or nay. Their
constituents are, therefore, not truly represented.
Most representatives' only hope of enacting
legislation is to attach it to a bill that has the blessing of the
few in leadership positions.
The net result are bills with overwhelming
support from the entire body that never really have a chance. An
example from the 2020 session is HB 1637, the Second Amendment
Preservation Act, which had 87 sponsors but was prevented by
leadership from even making it to the floor for debate. (It takes
83 votes to pass the House.)
The current system also results in passage
of unconstitutional multiple subject omnibus bills with elements
that don't truly have the support of a majority of the people's
representatives, since their only hope of getting their piece of
the bill passed is to vote in favor of the whole thing.
The top down power structure of the Senate
and House concentrates power in the hands of just a few in
leadership – especially the President Pro Tem of the Senate,
Speaker of the House and Majority floor leaders.
The Speaker and Pro Tem have ultimate power
over the selection of committee chairmanships and assignment to
Chairmen who displease the Speaker or Pro
Tem can be removed from their positions.
Members of committees who vote their
conscience or with their constituents instead of the way the
leadership wants can be removed from the committee and replaced by
someone who will toe the line. (This is more of a problem in the
Just a few in leadership have total
control over the flow of legislation.
Although they can't always force the
passage of bills, they have the absolute power to stop any bill
that does not suit their agenda.
The Speaker can hold onto filed bills until
it is impossible for them to even be considered by the body.
The Speaker and Pro Tem can assign bills to
committees they think will do their will.
Chairmen of committees can stop even the
most popular bills by preventing or delaying hearings and votes.
They can also withhold bills that have been recommended by
committee members to “do pass” from the whole body for
consideration – often at the direction of the Speaker.
The Floor Leaders control whether a bill
that has made it through the committee process gets to the floor
for the whole body to consider, regardless of how much support the
bill has from the whole body.
The concentrated power of the House and
Senate invites corruption and empowers special interests.
Special interests often need not appeal to
the whole body, they can influence the few in leadership to
accomplish their goals.
One need only to examine whose campaigns
get the most special interest monetary support to see where the
power is. Most of the big money is used to directly or indirectly
affect the few in leadership.
The Solution – give
every representative, and their constituents, an equal say.
Committee membership should be selected by
random lottery. Legislators should be permitted to make a
specified number of “bids” for committees of his or
her choice and the members randomly selected from among those
desiring to serve on a given committee.
The lottery process would be performed
separately for each party to maintain proportional representation
in each committee.
The lottery process would take into account
tenure, so each committee would include both more and less
Committee members could only be removed for
misconduct which would require a super-majority vote of the
committee, no longer by displeased leadership.
Selection of Committee Chairman.
Assignment of Bills to Committees
A committee made up of the chairmen of all
the committees would decide which committee bills are assigned to.
All bills must be promptly assigned to
committees. A set number per week should be required, with more
per week in the first days of session.
The bills with the most cosponsors at the
time the Committee of Chairmen meet shall be assigned to committee
Advance of Bills Through Committees
Bills with the most cosponsors shall
receive hearings and other considerations first.
Any committee member can move to take up a
bill for hearing, executive session, or do pass vote, providing
the bill sponsor has requested such action and bills with the most
cosponsors are given first consideration.
All bills will be reported out of committee within 24 hours of either a do pass or do not pass vote.
Bills on the Calendar
Bills shall be placed on the calendar upon
a do pass vote and written request of the bill sponsor.
Bills shall be taken up for perfection in
an order based on the number of cosponsors.
Bills shall be taken up for third read upon
request of the sponsor or sponsor's proxy based on the number of
cosponsors. (A bill can advance to a final vote only with the
approval of the sponsor.)
Presentment of Bills to the Governor
Every bill that is truly agreed to and
finally passed prior to the fifteenth day preceding the last day
of the legislative session shall be presented to the governor that
The presentment requirement may be
suspended upon majority vote by both chambers.
Cosponsorship of Bills
Each member of the House and Senate shall
permitted to cosponsor limited prescribed number of bills.
Cosponsorship may be withdrawn at any time.
Withdrawn cosponsorships may not be reused
after an action is taken on the bill it was originally used on.
An additional allotment of a prescribed
number of cosponsorships shall be provided each member after