Opinion

Think, Legislators: do your constituents really want this bill?

To the editor:

Dear Legislators – Greetings from Constituent Land. I’m wishing you good fortune in your heroic public service quest this season. Let me ask you to consider adding this amendment to any legislation on your docket this session:

Proposed SUNSET AMENDMENT for legislation: 

This legislation [insert # or name of bill] is intended to help the common good.  The problem it is intended to impact is [for example, protecting women’s control of their own bodies by eliminating unwanted babies]. We are convinced that two perquisites are in place:

1. There is a consensus among our constituents about this & the problem can’t be addressed by individual and/or town level action. 

2. Our constituents will be tolerant of the potential intrusiveness on their individual liberty in order to achieve this common good.

We expect that the impact intended will be observably evident by a change in these observables [ for example, the # of unwanted babies eliminated]. This body will re-assess this legislation’s impact by the following sunset date  [1,2,3,5 years later]. Depending on information we’ll be collecting for impact-on-the problem and intrusiveness-on-citizens  [for example, citizen complaints vs endorsement], we will re-endorse the law or let it expire.

Let me raise an additional consideration.  There is a plethora of soft consensus legislation already on the books.  By soft consensus I mean legislation that may not be accomplishing its goal….legislation that the majority passed but for which the consensus among the constituents was weak and their acquiescence is laced with significant reactive resentment. 

Have you considered re-assessing your constituents’ acquiescence on such legislation?   Should the legislation be reconsidered? 

Do your plans include the repeal of any legislation this session?    

V. Curtis Hunter, Ph.D

School Psychologist, Ret.

Bolton, VT

Sunset. Photo credit YouTube

Categories: Opinion

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