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. Oh, the name calling was not name calling, it was merely social commentary making this point, which is on the minds of many, as an aside to the article's focus: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100111082327AAmlmMa Or, if you prefer a local angle, I give you exhibit A in that analysis of viva la difference: http://fox59.com/2015/03/16/moed-appears-on-house-floor-says-hes-not-resigning/

  2. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  3. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  4. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  5. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

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