Our Laws may not be written by who you'd expect


Remember Nancy Pelosi's moment of honesty about Obamacare?

"We have to pass the bill so that we can't find out what's in it."

Turns out, that's how it works for most bills, federal and state.

USA Today and the Arizona Republic conducted a study that found the majority bills are actually written by corporations, industry groups and think tanks. Rice's Bob Stein says what's really troubling is that some lawmakers aren't actually reading the legislation.

"When legislation is written by a third party, by an outside party, not by the legislator, not by the staff or by a department or agency within government and the legislator does not even take the time to carefully read the legislation and be informed about it."

Professor Stein says it's actually not a bad idea to let experts write the bills, as long as the lawmaker really understands it.

USA Today and the Arizona Republic examined a million bills with an algorithm that looked for language similarities and found they get copied from one state to the next, without much review. Professor Stein says he's not necessarily troubled by the idea of bills being written by outside experts, but there's no excuse for lawmakers to not be familiar with the issues.

"If we find that legislators are simply taking, how can I say 'algorithm legislation' and putting it in the hopper and introducing it, without carefully reading it and going over it and asking the kinds of questions we expect from our legislators, then they're failing to perform their duties and responsibilities."

The investigation revealed the bills were primarily designed to make it harder to sue corporations.


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