Welcome Back Legislators. Now Stop Making So Many Laws

legislatureToday’s column is easy to write because I’m actually pulling up a column I think is worth repeating when welcoming legislators back to the capital. Don’t drown us with so many new laws. In fact, spend some time getting rid of old ones.

No one can possibly keep up with all the bills that actually become laws each year. Any idea how many new laws the California legislature put on the books over the past 52 years?

If you guessed under 60,000 you would be wrong.

According to an October release from the Senate Office of Research, 62,858 new laws have been added to the rolls since 1967. That averages over 1,208 laws a year under the governorships of Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown, George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, again.

Actually, the trend in lawmaking is going in the right direction—although it certainly has not gone far enough. Under governors Reagan, Brown (1.0) and Deukmejian, well over a thousand bills were signed into law each year. You have to go to the first year of Governor Wilson’s second term before you find less than a 1,000 bills enrolled, and it was close—982.

There was a stretch of 15 consecutive years when the 1,000 law mark was not breached from Gray Davis’s last year 2003, through the Schwarzenegger years, and the first seven years of Jerry Brown. However, this last year, Brown’s final one in office, 1,016 laws were enrolled breaking the streak.

But seriously, do the people of California really need so many laws to guide their lives?

Yet, woe be it to the business or citizen that ignores any of those laws. Especially with predatory attorneys lurking, looking for opportunity.

In many instances, new laws come with regulations and paperwork attached, which rob the affected parties, often businesses, of time to fill out the paperwork and keep up with the changing regulations while trying to run a business.

Here’s a suggestion this newly elected legislative class can do with its time. Eliminate some of the many laws on the books and focus on your non-lawmaking duties of managing the government efficiently an effectively.

Start with the DMV.

(Hat tip to Chris Micheli of Aprea & Micheli for directing me to the Senate Office of Research document.)

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily