Saturday, June 14, 2008

Read the Bills Act (RTBA)

Good morning friends, yesterday I was directed to a website called downsizedc.org which is essentially an electronic lobbying source for the average citizen. Finally you can have your voice heard on the things that matter to you. The thing on this website that interested me, and what I am writing about today is called "Read the Bills Act" or RTBA. Some of what I post will be taken directly from the website because who can say it better than the people responsible for it. This act needs your help however, it needs you to sign on to send a letter to your representatives, it is very easy to do at the website, it took me only a few minutes after I read everything about RTBA. So after you read this I encourage you to go to the website and do the same.

So what is RTBA? Simply put, it is an act that will ensure congress reads every word of every bill before they pass the bill. Believe it or not, currently some bills are not read in full, and sometimes there are not even copies of the legislation attempting to be passed! There are times when your representatives vote on legislation without being sure exactly what it says. Now I do not know about you but for me that is unacceptable. We vote them into office to represent us, however if they do not know what they are enacting how can they really represent us?

Here is some of what the website says about why we need RTBA:

"Most Congressmen are lawyers, and many others are businessmen. They know what “fiduciary responsibility” is. For Members of Congress, fiduciary responsibility means reading each word of every bill before they vote.

But Congress has not met this duty for a long time. Instead . . .

* They carelessly pass mammoth bills that none of them have read. Sometimes printed copies aren't even available when they vote!

* Often no one knows what these bills contain, or what they really do, or what they will really cost.

* Additions and deletions are made at the last minute, in secrecy.

* They combine unpopular proposals with popular measures that few in Congress want to oppose. (This practice is called “log-rolling.”)

* And votes are held with little debate or public notice.

* Oh, and once these bills are passed, and one of these unpopular proposals comes to light, they pretend to be shocked. “How did that get in there?” they say."

And here is what the website says that RTBA will do:

" * Each bill, and every amendment, must be read in its entirety before a quorum in both the House and Senate.

* Every member of the House and Senate must sign a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that he or she has attentively either personally read, or heard read, the complete bill to be voted on.

* Every old law coming up for renewal under the sunset provisions must also be read according to the same rules that apply to new bills.

* Every bill to be voted on must be published on the Internet at least 7 days before a vote, and Congress must give public notice of the date when a vote will be held on that bill.

* Passage of a bill that does not abide by these provisions will render the measure null and void, and establish grounds for the law to be challenged in court.

* Congress cannot waive these requirements."

And these are the effects of passing RTBA:

* Congress will have to slow down. This means the pace of government growth will also slow.

* Bills will shrink, be less complicated, and contain fewer subjects, so that Congress will be able to endure hearing them read.

* Fewer bad proposals will be passed due to “log-rolling.”

* No more secret clauses will be inserted into bills at the last moment.

* Government should shrink as old laws reach their sunset date, and have to be read for the first time before they can be renewed.

And all of these things will enable a larger DownsizeDC.org to more effectively lobby Congress for small government.

There is a plan in place to get this passed. Downsizedc.org has already sent a copy of the act to every member of senate and the house. Which means that your representative already has in his or her hands this act. They probably have not read it, as a lot of them do not even read what they actually pass, however you can pressure them to read it. Downsizedc.org is trying to form a partnership with bloggers, media personalities, talk show hosts, radio show hosts, and journalists to get this stuff everywhere. Every time a politician turns around we want them to see and hear a reminder that this will not go away.

Your congressman and senator work for you, you put them in office, you can take them out of office and most of all you pay them! Would you allow an employee to do things without first knowing what they were doing, things that have a profound effect on your company and life? I certainly would not and I do not think you would either, so why let our representatives do it? Act today guys (and gals) because we need our reps to know what they are passing, ignorance is not an excuse.

Here is the direct link ( Read the Bills Act ) to read about RTBA and to sign the petition and send something to your reps telling them that you support this and so should they.

Peace out,

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