Because I’m drunk.
Ha, no, not really. But come on! I know you were thinking it.
No, listen. The one thing I appreciate about Stacy Campfield is that I suspect he isn’t much different than anyone else on the Hill, except that he doesn’t think it’s necessary to lie about what he does.
I mean, here’s how I imagine legislation gets made in our state. I imagine that an issue comes to a legislator’s attention–through lobbying or through hearing from constituants or through observation of the state around us–and the legislator thinks, “Wow, that seems to be a problem.”
And then, I imagine the legislator asks him or herself a series of questions similar to the following:
1. Even if it is a problem, is it a problem best handled by passing legislation?
2. Is there already legislation that covers or could potentially cover this legislation?
3. Am I proposing something that’s legal? Is it Constitutional?
4. Is it going to cause more suffering than it alleviates?
I might even accept 5. Is this going to make me and my party look good and make the other guys look like fools?
But, my point is, I expect some level of thoughtful reflection on the motives of the people making you aware of an issue and the legality and relative benefits of what you’re proposing to the people of the state of Tennessee.
In real life, we’ve learned that Campfield gets ideas
from reading news stories as well as blog posts and comments by readers. I may tweak them and they will probably get changed more as the drafting process continues but here are a few you may recognize.
In the past he’s told us that
I want to caution people who read all the bills at filing deadline and think that is exactly what the legislator wants the bill to do. What you see in the original form may have the idea or part of the idea or may even be way off from the idea but will open the appropriate caption of law. Some legislators file captions without any idea at all but will file it just in case they get an idea that might fall in that section of law. They can amend it later to fit their needs but if it is not filed by the deadline, too bad, no bill for you. I know it sounds crazy but that is the system [emphasis mine].
And I really, sincerely appreciate his openness about how the system actually works. It’s easy enough to sit back and just assume that the legislators are all spending all their time sweating over the minute implications of every piece of data they’ve received that pertains to some bill they’re proposing and to feel like it’s not necessary for you as a citizen to be vigilant about what’s going on.
But when you see that the process is much more haphazard than that, much more hurried, it drives home the necessity of keeping on top of what they’re up to down the street and protecting ourselves.
I don’t have a lot of nice things to say about Campfield and I’m sure that he will continue his run of being an oppressive dink and I will continue to use him as blog fodder, but I do want to say that I’m glad he’s forthcoming about the process of how things happen.
That’s something that’s a benefit to all Tennesseans and something for which he should be commended.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my vodka and cranberry.