Will WA Senate Do Away with ‘Empty’ Title-Only Bills?
You may recall during Obamacare when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi alluded to legislators having to pass the bill before they could read it. This isn't quite like that, but it's in the same ballpark. Imagine a bill being proposed that only has a title, and a brief incomplete description or no text at all.
GOP State Senators seek to do away with title-only bills
Title-only bills are a rather insidious way of getting legislation passed. They're nothing new but are increasingly being considered deceptive.
According to Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center, Senate GOP leaders hope to do away with this practice:
"Title-only bills are essentially blank pieces of paper that provide a placeholder for action later in the legislative session. Not only are title-only bills not the norm across the country, they basically exist to circumvent Washington’s state constitutional protection for transparency on new bills introduced in the last 10 days of session."
According to Mercier, here is some of the language from GOP Senator Pederson:
“The introduction of title-only bills is prohibited. For the purposes of this subsection, a title-only bill is a bill containing a title or short summary of the intended subject matter, without laying forth the full changes intended to any act or sections of law.”
Mercier, in 2019, outlined the purpose of these bills, to basically get an 'idea' passed, then fill it in later.
For this session, GOP leaders have prepared legislation and rule changes to do away with the practice...if they can get it passed.
When Pelosi made her infamous remarks about having to pass Obamacare before legislators could read it, at least they had the text. In title-only bills, there's no meat or substance about exactly what the bill does, and how it will be enacted into law.
The 2023 state legislative session convenes Monday, January 9th.