Washington, D.C – Legislation is often passed in Congress without anyone having read all the small print or even the big print in the bill.
Legislation is often hundreds of pages long and often written by lobbyists and others. Lawmakers love to add "earmarks" to bills that send money to their home state. Other provisions are added to bills in committee sessions and never read by members who are then asked to vote on the legislation.
Calling the solution "practical, non-ideological and inevitable," a group called ReadtheBill.org hopes to shine light on legislation passed with little thought and get the public involved in looking at legislation before it ends up on the floor for debate. The organization hopes people will read the bills and expose "shady provision."
ReadtheBill.org has called on the U.S. House of Representatives to approve by election day a resolution by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) to require that all proposed legislation, including amendments, be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before it comes up for floor debate.
"It's time to stop passing bills in the dead of night that nobody has read," said Rafael DeGennaro, Founder and President of ReadtheBill.org. "We want sunshine at the Capitol by November. Any member of Congress who opposes this 72 online reform is part of the problem in Washington, D.C."
Baird's resolution updates the current three-day rule in the House, which requires legislation to be available to members of Congress, but not the public, for three calendar days. "The three-day rule encourages the insiders game in Washington, D.C. because it says that democracy is for members only," said DeGennaro. "
Introduced Feb. 16, H. Res. 688 amends House rules and only needs to pass the House of Representatives to take effect. It does not need to pass the Senate or be signed by the President.