ED­I­TO­RIAL Man­date study a good thing

North Penn Life - - Opinion -

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.

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