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As Long as We Remember...

September 25, 2002

Legislative pipe dreams

Michael Barnes

As we near the general election, there are some things that I would like to see regardless of who wins.

In Congress, I would like to see the following legislation drafted and passed. Any congressman (or woman) who does this will get my undying support regardless if he or she is a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, or Mickey Mouse Club member.

First and foremost: I would like to see a bill drafted that would form, for a limited time only, a Federal Bureau of Constitutionality. This bureau would have to be formed of experts in Constitutional law. They should be non-partisan, and should be hired based solely on criteria that would not allow them to be influenced by special interest groups. I guess that would leave most Democrats and Republicans out of the bureau, but hey, maybe there are some that have some character.

The responsibility of this bureau would be to pore through the heaping mass of federal programs and other federal bureaus and determine which are true powers/responsibilities delegated to the federal government by the Constitution.

Then, having found those which are not (Social Security, Medicare, NEA, DEA, FBI, ATF and so on), this bureau would then have the power to dissolve those programs and federal departments, returning the monies stolen - er - taxed from the citizens, back to the citizens. After completion of this Herculean labor, the FBC would then need to dissolve itself.

The second piece of legislation that should be introduced and passed (the one who does this should be awarded the title "American of the Year") should be the "Obey the oath you took to become a Senator/Congressman or get Kicked Out Act."

This act would essentially lay the ground rules that if you do something legislatively (such as vote for the abysmally anti-American Patriot Act) that violates the oath that you take when you assume the office of Senator or Congressman, you are removed immediately, and a run off election is held in your state/district to determine your successor. No pension, no retirement benefits. You are out.

The third piece of legislation I would like passed is the "Truth in Legislation Act". Since most Congress people/Senators have the attention span of a Chihuahua on acid, not to mention some of them have the same level of intelligence (Senator Daschle, I'm looking at you), it is unfair that they should have to read through tomes of legalese when trying to decide whether a bill is good or not.

Gone would be the insertion of special interest funding that holds up a national defense bill. Gone would be the one line of a bill that a majority leader insists must be in a bill or it won't see the light of the Senate floor.

It would be as simple as ABC (no, that's not another government agency... or is it?). If the bill is to make standing on the corner in the nude illegal, then that is all it should say in the text of the legislation.

The only downside to this would be that there would be thousands more bills introduced in the Congress. But, guess what? They would have to read the bills!!!

Those three would be a good start. I won't be holding my breath, though. Anyone of those bills endangers the job of at least 90 percent of those already in office.

Well, since my dream is that this country gets back to trying to regain the American dream, I should go back to sleep.

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