Many reporters do stories on how the current legislature compares to past legislatures. A recent story by Mark Barrett from the Asheville Citizen Times headlined “NC Legislature has passed fewer bills so far in 2017” illustrates this practice.
The end of the story concludes with “The number of bills passed so far suggests the General Assembly may do less this session than in some years… .” I wish some reporter would write a story on how restrained the legislature has been and how they are doing no harm.
As a conservative, I celebrate any legislative session passing fewer bills. With the exception of the budget and a few bills to repeal regulations and increase school choice, legislators should not be adding to the already thick bundle of laws and taxes which govern our lives.
Do we really need another regulation of a practice which heretofore has not been regulated? Do we need more bills expanding the reach of state government and costing taxpayers ever more money? I think not.
In the past Democrats excelled in lawmaking. When Republicans took over they had a burst of lawmaking to roll back bad regulation and laws, expand school choice and market freedoms. Unfortunately, as their majority matures, they seem to regard their duty to “fix things” and make laws.
Government can fix very little; it often makes problems worse. The boom in single-parent families is often traced to the very government “anti-poverty” programs which were supposed to “help” families. Usually the best remedy to societal ills is to allow what remains of civil society (church, charity, fraternal organizations) to engage and address the problem. The best action for government is to enforce the rules fairly and stay out of the way.
But you can already hear legislators complain, “If we don’t pass bills the papers may write we are ‘doing less’ and other bad things!”
At this time of the legislative session I always say the same thing: “Pass the budget and go home.” They usually don’t follow my advice.