Mandate study a good thing
It is the bane of almost every local borough councilPDn, tRwnshLS FRPPLssLRnHr Dnd sFhRRl bRDrd RIfiFLDl.
They all look at the latest mandate from Harrisburg, raise their hands and say, in unison, who’s going to pay for this? UsuDlly Lt’s thH tDxSDyHrs. 2SHn uS thH wDllHt, IRlNs. That’s why we were heartened to hear of the work of the Pennsylvania Legislature’s Mandate Study Task FRrFH. ,I thHrH’s RnH thLng thDt FRuld usH grHDtHr sFrutLny, Lt’s stDtH PDndDtHs. 6R D tDsN IRrFH tR dR Must thDt wRuld sHHP lLNH D grHDt LdHD.
The task force has been studying ways to reduce state PDndDtHs Rn lRFDl PunLFLSDlLtLHs. 6hDrSHn uS thRsH SHnFLls, IRlNs. ,t dLdn’t tDNH thHP lRng tR hLt SDy dLrt.
The panel already has come up with some good ideas — Ln SDrtLFulDr, RnH thDt wRuld rHTuLrH D fisFDl DnDlysis of how proposed legislation would affect local govHrnPHnts. 7hDt DFtuDlly hRlds thH SrRPLsH RI D FulturH FhDngH, gHttLng Dt thH rRRt RI thH LssuH. 7hH PRvH wRuld target not only the simple number-crunching by legislative staffers that addresses the costs to state government, but also to the government entity that would end up holdLng thH bDg.
7hH FDutLRn hHrH Ls nRt tR gR RvHrbRDrd. EvHrybRdy hDtHs PDndDtHs. UnIRrtunDtHly, wLthRut thHP nRt D lRt gHts dRnH.
The task force suggests there are currently some 6,500 PDndDtHs — lDws — DIIHFtLng lRFDl PunLFLSDlLtLHs.
LDws dRn’t PDtHrLDlLzH by D PDgLFDl Rr HvLl SrRFHss. In Pennsylvania, we the people elect 253 other people, whRP wH FDll lDwPDNHrs, tR SrRduFH thRsH lDws. 7hHsH are the same people who have now created a task force tR slLP dRwn thRsH vHry sDPH PDndDtHs. ,t’s NLnd RI lLNH FhDsLng yRur tDLl DItHr D whLlH.
It’s not hard to see why Pennsylvania is the proud home of one of the largest and most expensive lawmaking bodLHs Ln thH FRuntry. And thHrHLn lLHs thH rHDl sRlutLRn tR thH PDndDtH SrRblHP.
EvHry lDw hDs D FRnstLtuHnFy. LDws RrLgLnDtH wLth LndLviduals and interest groups, and those folks turn to their HlHFtHd RIfiFLDls tR tDNH FDrH RI thHP Ln thH stDtH FDSLtDl. 2nH SHrsRn’s hDtHd PDndDtH Ls DnRthHr’s vLtDl SublLF sDIHguDrd. 7hHrH’s D rHFHnt lDw rHgulDtLng SuSSy PLlls. AlPRst HvHryRnH Ls DgDLnst thHP. But FrDFNLng dRwn Rn thHP Ls nRt LnHxSHnsLvH.
Nearly everyone is clamoring right now for more laws requiring the reporting of suspected child sexual abuse, Dnd PRrH lDws rHgulDtLng stDtH-rHlDtHd unLvHrsLtLHs. :hHn something goes wrong, we conclude it happened because wH dLdn’t hDvH HnRugh lDws Rr thH rLght RnHs.
Lawmakers feel like they’re accomplishing something (Dnd MustLIyLng thHLr HxLstHnFH) whHn thHy’rH SDssLng laws — especially those intended to address problems SRLntHd Rut by FRnstLtuHnts. At HlHFtLRn tLPH thHy brDg about laws they’ve sponsored or co-sponsored and we reward them by re-electing them for looking out for our LntHrHsts.
So by all means, review the plethora of state mandates Dnd whDFN thRsH dHHPHd tRR HxSHnsLvH Rr RnHrRus. But while we’re at it, we’re reminded there’s a much easier wDy tR PDNH stDtH gRvHrnPHnt PRrH FRst-HIIHFtLvH.
Reduce the number of people devoted to creating laws — by downsizing Pennsylvania’s Legislature, and maybe HvHn rHduFLng Lt tR SDrt tLPH.
- Journal Register News Service
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