Interim meetings antiquated

September 10, 2008
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Now is the time of the year when the General Assembly’s interim study committees meet to discuss various issues that could become bills in the 2009 session. What strikes me about these meetings is how old-fashioned and time-consuming they are. If you haven’t sat in on an interim study committee meeting or happened to watch it streamed live online, these meetings can be long.

Try about four hours long. That’s how long yesterday’s interim study committee on immigration issues lasted.

These study committees are designed to get information from experts or people who may have knowledge or be affected by a particular topic, such as immigration, education, or transportation. But in today’s digital world, is it necessary to have four law professors testify about immigration? Much of the information the law professors provided yesterday could have been found by doing some research by making phone calls or turning to the Internet. The lawmakers repeatedly asked for data about immigration from everyone who testified. Couldn’t this data been obtained prior to the meeting, and then the lawmakers could ask questions regarding specific data?

I’m not sure why these meetings have to last so long – perhaps it’s because this is the way it has always been done in the General Assembly. Perhaps it’s so everything from these meetings is “on the record,” even redundant information. These types of long meetings with multiple sources for the same information or viewpoints made sense 100, 50, or even 25 years ago, before the advent of the Internet, telephone, telecommuting, and easier access to information was available to lawmakers.

Nowadays, the length of these meetings could be cut drastically if lawmakers would just do a little research beforehand and utilize technology more. To me, that is a way to make government more efficient. Give lawmakers more time to discuss the issues among themselves instead of asking the same question of four people who will give similar answers.
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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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