Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Thoughts on Reform

The State Senate State Government Committee is taking up five aspects of government reform. Here are my thoughts on them:

redistricting reform -- absolutely, my top concern

legislative term limits -- don't like this one

reducing the size of the legislature -- no on this one, too

prohibiting lame duck sessions -- yes

initiative and referendum -- yes

Campaign finance reform is not on the list but it would be at the top of mine if it were there.

Ross Schriftman, whose opinion I think well of, spoke on the topic today to the State House Reform Commission.


Daddy Democrat said...

I'm not a big fan of term limits, either. I could live with them if they're pretty long. (16 years?)

The only reason why they may be necessary is that legislators, especially PA ones, seem terribly incapable at creating any checks on the power of incumbency. If they'd eliminate their franking privileges, for instance, I'd gladly let them run indefinitely.

phillydem said...

I don't see the fascination with term limits, either. Every 2 or 4 years there's a chance to vote and express your feelings in both the primary and general elections. Voters are perfectly capable of "term limiting" legislators they believe are no longer doing the job to which they were elected. Just ask the state reps who were booted in 2006.

Term limits also work against gathering legislative expertise and
make elected officials more dependent on career staff or industry lobbyists (which is probably why Republicans like it).

I see term limits working a lot like the constant change in the federal govt, either with political appointees or at DoD activities. The leadership comes and goes and is almost totally dependent on the career civilians for "institutional memory".