Should the Legislature Be Allowed to Meet Every Year?
Amendment 2 on the Nov 4, 08 Arkansas General Election Ballot
Below are excerpts from an article by Arkansas Representative Dan Greenberg opposing Amendment 2 on the ballot this year. It is one of the best newspaper articles I have seen in a long time by a legislator. The article eloquently defends the conservative philosophy. The entire article can be read at this link: Believe me, it is worth your time to read the entire article. http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Perspective/241521/
Amendment 2 isn’t getting discussed much, but it is without a doubt the biggest and most consequential change in Arkansas government in my lifetime. Let me tell you why making this change is a terrible idea.
Annual sessions will make it harder for our representatives to be citizens of their districts. Annual sessions will create tremendous pressure for pay increases and higher travel allowances for legislators, who will find it harder and harder to have real jobs that, every year, allow four months time off.
Annual sessions will also lead to big government in Arkansas. Political scientists have demonstrated what everybody knows: the longer legislatures are in session, the more legislation they produce—which generally leads to bigger, more expensive and more complex government. States with full-time legislatures generally rank near the top of the list of biggest per-person taxers and spenders.
Anyone who genuinely advocates government that is smaller, cheaper and closer to the people must oppose this change to our state Constitution.
Permitting our legislature to spend twice as much time in session will be a gateway drug to big government—and a recipe for even more uncompetitive elections and unresponsive politicians. A vote for Amendment 2 runs the risk of producing state legislators as disconnected as McGovern admitted he became.
I hope Arkansas votes against this Amendment and for our current system of biennial sessions, which gives as much time as possible to lawmakers to be representatives of their districts—not just representatives of that huge marble dome in the center of Little Rock.
(Dan Greenberg is a lawyer and state Representative in District 31 and is also the son of Paul Greenberg)