EDITORIAL Mandate study a good thing
It is the bane of almost every local borough councilman, tRwnshLS FRPPLssLRnHU and sFhRRl bRaUd RIfiFLal.
They all look at the latest mandate from Harrisburg, raise their hands and say, in unison, who’s going to pay for this? UsXally Lt’s thH taxSayHUs. 2SHn XS thH wallHt, IRlNs. That’s why we were heartened to hear of the work of the 3HnnsylYanLa LHJLslatXUH’s 0andatH 6tXdy 7asN FRUFH. ,I there’s one thing that could use greater scrutiny, it’s state mandatHs. 6R a tasN IRUFH tR dR MXst that wRXld sHHP lLNH a JUHat LdHa.
The task force has been studying ways to reduce state mandatHs Rn lRFal PXnLFLSalLtLHs. 6haUSHn XS thRsH SHnFLls, IRlNs. ,t dLdn’t taNH thHP lRnJ tR hLt Say dLUt.
The panel already has come up with some good ideas — in SaUtLFXlaU, RnH that wRXld UHTXLUH a fisFal analysLs RI hRw SURSRsHd lHJLslatLRn wRXld aIIHFt lRFal JRYHUnPHnts. 7hat aFtXally holds the promise of a culture change, getting at the root of thH LssXH. 7hH PRYH wRXld taUJHt nRt Rnly thH sLPSlH nXPbHUcrunching by legislative staffers that addresses the costs to state government, but also to the government entity that would end XS hRldLnJ thH baJ.
7hH FaXtLRn hHUH Ls nRt tR JR RYHUbRaUd. (YHUybRdy hatHs PandatHs. UnIRUtXnatHly, wLthRXt thHP nRt a lRt JHts dRnH.
The task force suggests there are currently some 6,500 mandatHs — laws — aIIHFtLnJ lRFal PXnLFLSalLtLHs.
Laws dRn’t PatHULalLzH by a PaJLFal RU HYLl SURFHss. ,n 3Hnnsylvania, we the people elect 253 other people, whom we call lawPaNHUs, tR SURdXFH thRsH laws. 7hHsH aUH thH saPH SHRSlH who have now created a task force to slim down those very saPH PandatHs. ,t’s NLnd RI lLNH FhasLnJ yRXU taLl aItHU a whLlH.
It’s not hard to see why Pennsylvania is the proud home of one of the largest and most expensive lawmaking bodies in the FRXntUy. And thHUHLn lLHs thH UHal sRlXtLRn tR thH PandatH SURblHP.
(YHUy law has a FRnstLtXHnFy. Laws RULJLnatH wLth LndLYLdXals and LntHUHst JURXSs, and thRsH IRlNs tXUn tR thHLU HlHFtHd RIfiFLals tR taNH FaUH RI thHP Ln thH statH FaSLtal. 2nH SHUsRn’s hatHd PandatH Ls anRthHU’s YLtal SXblLF saIHJXaUd. 7hHUH’s a UHFHnt law UHJXlatLnJ SXSSy PLlls. AlPRst HYHUyRnH Ls aJaLnst thHP. BXt FUaFNLnJ dRwn Rn thHP Ls nRt LnHxSHnsLYH.
Nearly everyone is clamoring right now for more laws requiring the reporting of suspected child sexual abuse, and more laws UHJXlatLnJ statH-UHlatHd XnLYHUsLtLHs. :hHn sRPHthLnJ goes wrong, we conclude it happened because we didn’t have HnRXJh laws RU thH ULJht RnHs.
Lawmakers feel like they’re accomplishing something (and MXstLIyLnJ thHLU HxLstHnFH) whHn thHy’UH SassLnJ laws — HsSHcially those intended to address problems pointed out by constLtXHnts. At HlHFtLRn tLPH thHy bUaJ abRXt laws thHy’YH sSRnsored or co-sponsored and we reward them by re-electing them IRU lRRNLnJ RXt IRU RXU LntHUHsts.
So by all means, review the plethora of state mandates and whaFN thRsH dHHPHd tRR HxSHnsLYH RU RnHURXs. BXt whLlH we’re at it, we’re reminded there’s a much easier way to make statH JRYHUnPHnt PRUH FRst-HIIHFtLYH.
Reduce the number of people devoted to creating laws — by downsizing Pennsylvania’s Legislature, and maybe even UHdXFLnJ Lt tR SaUt tLPH.
Journal Register News Service