It’s time to slow down

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 2, 1999

The pressure is building to create a unicameral – one body - state Legislature.

Monday, August 02, 1999

The pressure is building to create a unicameral – one body - state Legislature.

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Instead of a House and Senate, a unicameral Legislature would have just one governing body.

As the pressure builds, it is time for those on all side to slow down and consider the consequences of their actions.

Slow down, that pretty much says it.

A bicameral Legislature, which we now have, is slow, and intentionally so. The beauty of this system is lawmakers in most cases cannot rush new laws on the books; in effect, our representatives are prevented from making knee-jerk reactions to current events.

If the House passes a law that does not serve the public, the Senate can kill it, and vice versa.

The real snag in the current system is conference committees.

Conference committees include six or 10 House and Senate members who meet to iron out the differences between House and Senate bills, and form final laws. There are two problems with this: one, it puts too much power in too few hands; and two, the full House and Senate can only accept or reject the compromises, rather than voting individually on the final version of every bill.

Yet, unicameral advoates’ efforts to kill conference committees may encroach upon governments ability to function deliberately, unhurriedly. It should be hard to pass laws, unless they are so obviously worthy as to easily gain the approval of both houses.

Perhaps the best route is to forget about unicameral, and instead fix the conference committee system to better serve the public.