Should elected officials be required to read bills before voting?
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Thread: Should elected officials be required to read bills before voting?

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    Online Community Director MissyJ's Avatar
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    Default Should elected officials be required to read bills before voting?

    This particular news article was about a local TX board's vote on reparations but this debate question is for ALL levels of government. Within the article, the officials later stated they did not read the resolution before voting... the same thing we (too often) hear from lawmakers / bills in Washington.

    Texas board unwittingly approves reparations for slavery

    Do you believe that elected officials should be required to read what they are voting on?


    (P.S. If you wish to debate the pros/cons on reparations please start a new debate.)

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    Yes, I do believe that elected officials should either read, or have someone on their staff read bills that they are voting on.
    MissyJ likes this.

    ~Bonita~

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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    Sounds logical.....I wonder how practical it actually is. I know that sounds like crazy talk, but I honestly do wonder how practical it really is.

    Of course we could just get a whole lot less done...but I bet people would be unhappy about that too.

    I'm guessing this is a rock and hard place issue.

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    Online Community Director MissyJ's Avatar
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    Kim,

    I would even feel better if at LEAST someone on their staff (that I'm perhaps wrongfully assuming would support their pov) could read. I still have issues wrapping my head around the fact that too often that few appear to actually KNOW what the heck they are voting on. This is not even about one political party or another as all seem to have adopted this practice. Then we seem to have accepted the excuse of "Oh, I didn't know... or I didn't have time to read" vs. demanding accountability for the votes cast. Why is it more often becoming the norm that we will find out what a bill (or in this case a resolution) is AFTER the fact?

    Yes, agree that we would likely 'accomplish' less but maybe that would help all levels of government prioritize better.

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    If the bills are so long and wordy that even an aid does not have time to read them and summarise them, than that is what needs to be changed. It is ridiculous that someone could stick something in the middle of a 2,000 bill that said that a small farming town was to get 2 billion dollars and it is voted on before anyone realised it is there.

    ~Bonita~

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    To be sure: you've read every word of your lease, mortgage docs, divorce decree, gym membership, car rental, tou for all of your website accounts, etc.

    Or did you agree (either by signature or clicking the "I agree" box) based on what you *thought* was in it? Later you may realize it wasn't what you thought.

    Actually, no, I think we've elected people to do a job, and if we don't think they are doing that job, we should vote them out. Many bills are too long. But should we break them down into separate bills? With the process it goes through , would this be a waste of time? I mean, Apple offered you the opportunity to read all of the tou, should they break it into 500 paragraphs that you have to agree to individually? Just like my English teacher could require reading certain books doesn't mean I did. How can you enforce it ?

    LOL
    snopes.com: Texas Legislature de Salvo Resolution

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    Online Community Director MissyJ's Avatar
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    Ok - I actually agree that I'm likely an exception but yes -- I've learned the need to read the 'fine print'. Does that mean that I may miss something still? Sure... but particularly in legal matters I think it is incredibly important to know what the heck I'm signing or else I really don't have any room to complain later.

    For the huge bills, as I shared, I'd feel better if they even assigned staff to help read through and give a summary on their assigned section. (Again - this would be with the belief that those on their political staff tend to share their pov.)

    As for your English teacher example -- ours tested on assigned reading to ensure it was done.

    Seriously, I *do* know that many get bogged down in all the pages upon pages of legalese... but -- imho -- that IS their job to do. Yes, we can vote them out of office but unless the mindset of accepting "Oh I didn't know" or "I didn't have time to read" gets changed we won't see a difference. It wouldn't be accepted in my work, in my kids' education or in an attorney I hired. I guess I just struggle to understand how we now seem to accept it from our elected officials.

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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    So I'm assuming it is the opinion of people here that the existing staff of these people have enough time to consume the job of reading thousands of pages of bills that they are not reading as of now?

    This is just one of those things that sounds great on paper and I have this feeling that if we were actually going to enforce it(if that were possible) people would experience the consequences and then be like "oh gosh forget it, lets go back to the way things were"

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimPossible View Post
    So I'm assuming it is the opinion of people here that the existing staff of these people have enough time to consume the job of reading thousands of pages of bills that they are not reading as of now?

    This is just one of those things that sounds great on paper and I have this feeling that if we were actually going to enforce it(if that were possible) people would experience the consequences and then be like "oh gosh forget it, lets go back to the way things were"
    There is no need to make them so many pages that they can not be read. That would have to be fixed first, but yes, I think at least someone should be reading them.

    ~Bonita~

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    Quote Originally Posted by MissyJ View Post
    Ok - I actually agree that I'm likely an exception but yes -- I've learned the need to read the 'fine print'. Does that mean that I may miss something still? Sure... but particularly in legal matters I think it is incredibly important to know what the heck I'm signing or else I really don't have any room to complain later.
    Reading it and comprehending it don't necessarily go together. Honestly, I don't have time to read word for word all of the credit card inserts, changes, TOU for all the websites, etc. When I rented an apartment, I knew the lease inside and out. I also know my work contract in great detail. The 426 pages of the SDSU catalog - nope.

    For the huge bills, as I shared, I'd feel better if they even assigned staff to help read through and give a summary on their assigned section. (Again - this would be with the belief that those on their political staff tend to share their pov.)
    How is "helping read through" and giving a summary any different than it is now? When I go to the polls, I read the summary of many of the propositions, but not the entire text of the proposition. Some are just way too wordy to pore over.

    As for your English teacher example -- ours tested on assigned reading to ensure it was done.
    Yep, we had tests too; didn't ensure the reading was done. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, a lot of the stuff was beyond my comprehension level at the time.

    Seriously, I *do* know that many get bogged down in all the pages upon pages of legalese... but -- imho -- that IS their job to do. Yes, we can vote them out of office but unless the mindset of accepting "Oh I didn't know" or "I didn't have time to read" gets changed we won't see a difference. It wouldn't be accepted in my work, in my kids' education or in an attorney I hired. I guess I just struggle to understand how we now seem to accept it from our elected officials.
    Well, I guess if we want Congress to get even less done.
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