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29 Dec. 2002

Did you see what happened with that Homeland Security Act? Rep. Ron Paul put it this way: "... the legislative vehicle almost overnight grew from 32 pages to 282 pages ... Now we are prepared to vote on a nearly 500-page bill ..."

No wonder there were complaints in Congress that members hadn't been able to read the bill before they were expected to vote on it.

And this is not the first time in the recent rush to embrace Big Brother that we've heard such complaints. They were also raised about the 342-page USA Patriot Act -- shoved through Congress without public hearings. (Bravo for Rep. Bernie Sanders, who's campaigning to reverse at least some provisions of this truly spooky legislation.)

We really shouldn't have laws voted into existence by people who haven't read them. There's something wrong with that -- something basic.

Would it be too much to require that members of Congress read and understand any bill they vote on?

And while we're at it, let's require that certifications be signed by the president every time he signs a bill into law. He'd be required to state that he had read and understood the entire law. Under penalty of impeachment.

If you can think of a better way to get Washington to pay attention to the laws it imposes on us, let me know.

Copyright © 2002 John Spragens

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