When I first started watching TN House Subcommittee meetings, I saw something that has stuck with me: A legislator brought in a bill to remove the prohibition on aquariums in barber shops. Everyone in the room was baffled as to why this was a law in the first place. Over the years I have assumed that there was a health scare whenever that law was enacted, but I haven’t taken the time to really track it down.
Of course, just repealing something without knowing why it was law in the first place is such a bad idea that there’s a name for it: Chesterton’s Fence
The Boston Globe author says we should have a mandatory 12-15 year sunset but even then I think it’s been too long. I think two years would be sufficient to see the effects of any proposal, yet not be far enough in the past for no one to remember why the law was there in the first place. Two years is also convenient from a political standpoint because that’s the rotation of Congress.
If a law is passed along party lines that is so egregious that the voting public severely punishes the ruling party (Obamacare, anyone?), then literally all the new majority has to do is nothing and it goes away.
I’d also like to see a provision where no new business can be conducted until a vote on existing laws has taken place, and no votes on anything can occur until the Speaker of the House has read, verbatim, with no breaks and no surrogates, the law about to be voted on.
Things like murder, rape, and robbery would continue to be illegal. Things like selling orchids without all the proper paperwork would not. In fact, the paperwork would be gone, too.
What say you? How would you improve the system?