Making Laws without Limits

Lawmakers attempt to solve problems by passing legislation. In almost every case, that legislation empowers a state agency to draft rules and procedures to deal with the issue at hand. But rarely, if ever, do lawmakers consider how to prevent overreaches by government agencies and their employees. The only recourse available to a citizen, business or institution is to go to court, often at great expense of time and money, to establish a clear definition of agency limits of authority, determined by unelected judges whose power comes from the very government being challenged by the citizen, business or institution.

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We pass laws telling state agencies what the General Court wants them to do. But we never include language to protect citizens, businesses and institutions from the unintended consequences of government excesses. How much better would our laws be – and how much less crowded our courts – if legislation included clearly defined limits on the scope and authority of government agencies and employees, and meaningful penalties for any that exceed them?

Legislators are by-and-large people who believe in our system of government. In NH, State Senators and State Representatives receive $100 per year in compensation, and are reimbursed for mileage driven to and from Concord for legislative sessions, committee and subcommittee meetings, and certain required legislative meetings. That’s it. There’s no retirement plan, no health
benefits, although elected Representatives and Senators may opt to join a State-sponsored health insurance plan. If they do so, all premiums are paid for by the individual Senator or Representative.

Lawmakers attempt to solve problems by passing legislation. In almost every case, that legislation empowers a state agency to draft rules and procedures to deal with the issue at hand. But rarely, if ever, do lawmakers consider how to prevent overreaches by government agencies and their employees. The only recourse available to a citizen, business or institution is to go to court, often at
great expense of time and money, to establish a clear definition of agency limits of authority, determined by unelected judges whose power comes from the very government being challenged by the citizen, business or institution.

We pass laws telling state agencies what the General Court wants them to do. But we never include language to protect citizens, businesses and institutions from the unintended consequences of government excesses. How much better would our laws be – and how much less crowded our courts – if legislation included clearly defined limits on the scope and authority of government agencies and employees, and meaningful penalties for any that exceed them?

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  • Bob Giuda
    published this page in Blog 2016-08-11 22:25:44 -0400
  • Bob Giuda
    published this page in Blog 2016-06-21 14:13:52 -0400