The State of Idaho does something the federal government should emulate. The only state I can think of that has a popular candy bar named after it has a legislature that regularly nixes regulations made by the state’s executive branch.
Think of it as a line-item veto for the legislature.
Now, at this point, if you know the Constitution but not today’s “living Constitution,” you might wonder: Don’t legislatures write the regulations? Alas, at the federal level, as in most states, the legislative branch has granted to bureaucrats in the Executive Branch a great deal of leeway to cook up what sure feel like “laws.”
“Last year the Federal Register,” Wayne Hoffman explains in theWall Street Journal, “which publishes agency rules, proposals and notices, exceeded 80,260 pages — the third-highest in its history, according to a report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.”
Idaho provides a good model for taking back such ceded legislative power.
Let’s remember the idea of “the several states” experimenting with new and old ideas separately, heralded in a famous phrase, “laboratories of democracy.”
This allows good practices to spread slowly throughout all the states . . . based on results.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hoffman informs us, Idaho’s practice is traditional, not hallowed in the state’s constitution. A 2014 referendum narrowly failed to get Idahoans to change the constitution to incorporate this “best practice” into explicit law — the legislature had not adequately explained the situation to the public first time around — Idaho solons are trying again.
Make representatives responsible for regulations, and therefore more accountable.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
Illustration: Golconda by René Magritte