January 18, 2010
One Subject at a Time: Let's make 2009 an aberration
By James Wilson

Congress passed fewer laws in 2009, but they were nearly three times as large! Please send Congress a letter telling them to stop bundling unrelated legislation by passing's One Subject At A Time Act (OSTA).

You may copy or borrow from the following letter . . .

I'm disturbed by Congress's behavior last year . . .

* You passed fewer laws, but they were 3 times as large
* You created 3,486 pages of new laws, whereas the nine-year average is 2,160
* Your 2009 laws averaged 28 pages, whereas the nine-year average is 10!

Longer bills are far more difficult for either Congress or the people to scrutinize and understand.

Part of the problem is combining multiple bills and subjects into one package . . .

* the 407-page "stimulus" bill (Public Law 111-3) was a bundle of spending programs, handouts, tax cuts, and unrelated laws
* the 466-page Omnibus Appropriations bill (Public Law 111-5) combined 9 different federal agency spending bills into one
* the 466-page Wilderness, Interior, and Ag bill (Public Law 111-11) created scores of new laws and programs that were unrelated to each other
* the pork-laden 656-page Defense and Military Construction bill (Public Law 111-84) contained the completely-unrelated Hate Crimes Act

I believe the intentions behind such gigantic bills were to . . .

* pass unpopular bills by combining them with supposed "must-pass" legislation
* provide opportunities for logrolling, pork, and other special favors
* deny time for scrutiny by the public and by conscientious members of Congress

With more gigantic bills such as healthcare and cap & trade on the agenda, 2010 could be even worse.

But I demand that you represent me better this year . . .

* cut down on the total number of pages of legislation you pass
* whenever possible, break down large bills into smaller, understandable bills containing only one subject that must pass or fail only on its own merits
* make these objectives mandatory by introducing and passing's One Subject At A Time Act


(NOTE the length of bills cited above are not based on large-print bill pages, but on the more condensed Public Law pages. For instance, bill H.R. 2647 was 1,158 pages, but is found here as Public Law 111-84 and is 656 pages.)

You can send your letter using's Educate the Powerful System.

We also want to thank the following people for donating to support our work last week . . .

1-Time Contributions: Alexander Gunkel, David Ripley, Perry Sheetz, Edward Hudgens, Chelsea Moller, Richard Linchitz, plus 5 donors who asked to be unlisted  

New monthly pledges: Kristina L Shull, Daniel H Fylstra, Eli Sutton, plus 1 new pledger who asked to be unlisted

Please make a contribution or start a monthly pledge using our secure online contribution form.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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