It’s happened again but this time, instead of laughing (hurts too much to cry) perhaps it is time that some sort of solution is attempted. Of course, that would certainly require legislative action so hopes for success are probably not too high. Nonetheless, enough is enough.
It’s important to understand that typically it is not the intention of passed and approved legislation that is horribly misguided or misworded.
Gibberish/nonsense is more usually found in proposed legislation, not completed laws that passed through a committee and floor vote process.
Nonetheless, time and again, poor wording and obvious oversights and mumbo-jumbo make it all the way into the stuff the citizenry is supposed to respect and obey.
Then its flaws are found and detract from the respect supposed to be shown to the entire body of laws created by the deliberative bodies made up by representatives of all the people (well, supposedly anyway).
THE LATEST example to make our front page was Senate Bill 350, which all legislators from the Floyd County area supported and that was approved by the governor. It had the good intention of trying to assure that all guns that are abandoned, stolen and recovered, or confiscated in the course of law enforcement, get returned to those owners not convicted of a crime. Those that can’t be are typically auctioned off — not to the general public but rather licensed dealers and similar.
First Floyd County tried to rush through an auction, typically held every six months of so, before the new law supposedly went into effect on July 1, as most tend to do. That’s because the mumbo-jumbo appeared to “steal” the proceeds from local coffers and instead give them to the state. It caused Commission Chairman Irwin Bagwell to fume that “They’re taking more money away from the counties.”
Seems that was just another whoopsie as legislators forgot counties exist, giving the right to retain such money only to “municipal corporations” (cities). They really didn’t mean to further rob local government at gunpoint, or so now the story goes.
Then the county had to call off the rush job auction upon learning that the law actually was written so it went into effect on May 3, the day Gov. Nathan Deal signed it.
IN THE PROCESS of this hubbub, which now is supposed to be destined for repair only when the General Assembly meets next year, it was also learned SB 350 would have required the sale of guns used to kill police officers. By tradition, departments always have those melted down. Frankly, every gun that kills or wounds someone should probably be similarly disposed of on the grounds that it carries “bad karma” as well as makes authorities appear willing to make a buck off of some citizen’s misery.
This sort of messing up has become entirely too routine. Proposing bad laws is one thing; passing them by the accident of ignorance is quite another.
Most proposed laws are not actually written by legislators themselves, excepting those with big egos or law degrees. They are ideas handed off to a staff of legal experts paid for by taxpayers and at the beck and call of the “people’s representatives.”
Such staffers are quite good at legalese but often lack a grasp of how the world actually works.
Remember, in this instance it was already the norm and standard policy to return firearms seized by police to rightful and innocent legal owners.
Not only that but the governor also has a staff that supposedly reads passed laws and makes sign/kill recommendations. Anyone who thinks the governor actually reads every word of all that stuff — or that legislators do before voting on it — or that sponsors do before introducing it — lives in an imaginary world.
A CHANGE in legislative mechanics could fix much of this and would involve two steps.
First, as most know both the entire House and Senate are chosen every two years. Other than the unavoidable involving budgets and the revenues necessary to support them, no other law/policy action should be passed in the first year of a session. That would be the only time when new ideas can be offered with votes occurring only in the second year of the session following some time for reflection.
Many of the worst mistakes are made in somebody’s all-fired slobbering rush to satisfy some loud constituent, special interest or campaign contributor — not because some terrible injustice exists.
Second, instead of the blind leading the blind, each offered proposal should require being examined with a yea/nay verdict and/or suggested improvements by the organizations/agencies/parties that will be most effected. Not just some committee hearing with opponents muzzled; an actual written report/analysis from those with verifiable interests in the matter.
Regarding SB 350 did anybody actually ask the police department, municipal and county government associations to even offer an opinion?
There could and should be a way to bypass this go-slower approach, of course, when a true emergency or crisis arises. In the case of a state, that would be the governor who also holds the power to call an emergency legislative session. However, can anybody think of any recent law involving a true emergency situation of general importance?
IN THIS instance, SB 350 first appeared on Jan. 25, 2012; was passed by the Senate on March 7; passed by the House on March 29; was signed by the governor on May 3 and went into effect immediately. That’s just more than three months, or only twice as long as it took Congress to pass the USA Patriot Act in the wake of 9/11/2001.
That one was hardly perfect either, but at least there was a good excuse of the all-fired rush.
There was no excuse for this latest mumbo-jumbo pratfall by the state’s legislators. They simply need to slow down and get advice from real-world contacts before trying to tell the rest of us what to do.
Whoops! Sorry! Wait for the do-over! That’s no way to run a state.