Combating Rushed Legislation: A 90 Day Waiting Period

After the fiscal cliff “crap sandwich” deal was agreed to and a bill written the 100 members of the United States Senate had less than 10 minutes to read it before voting on it.
Town Hall-Mike Lee: Senators only had six minutes to read fiscal cliff bill before voting

Members of the Illinois state Senate had one day to read over two anti-second amendment gun control bills after they were passed out of committee.(Both bills would be pulled before any vote was taken)
Chicago Democrats Introduce Assault Weapon Ban For Illinois
HB815: Illinois Democrats Attempt To Ban Gun Magazines Over 10 Rounds

Last night New York Governor Andrew “I deserve some of the blame for the sub prime loan mortgage mess” Cuomo announced that he and members of the New York legislature had crafted a strict new gun control law totaling 78 pages.  Within hours the New York Senate was voting on that bill.
Breitbart-New York Legislators Draft Gun Control Bill Behind Closed Doors
Breitbart-New York moves towards tough post-massacre gun law
Breitbart-NY passes nation’s toughest gun control law

There are countless other examples of state or federal legislators passing bills in extreme hurries(Obamacare anyone), bills that haven’t been read, or even fully written.  These hastily crafted pieces of legislation are often wrought with errors and oversights.  Many of the bills passed in a rush often run afoul of the Constitution(state and federal).

In 1787 Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to James Madison and at the conclusion of it wrote this, “The instability of our laws is really an immense evil. I think it would be well to provide in our constitutions that there shall always be a twelve-month between the ingross-ing a bill & passing it: that it should then be offered to it’s passage without changing a word: and that if circum-stances should be thought to require a speedier passage, it should take two thirds of both houses instead of a bare majority.”

Given all of the bad pieces of legislation that have come down the pike over the years, not the least of which was the “crap sandwich”, I am of the opinion that a constitutional Amendment needs to be crafted and sent to the states for ratification.  This Jeffersonian Amendment would insure that no bill introduced in either the House of Representatives or United States Senate could be voted on for passage unless a minimum of 90 days had passed since the bill was submitted.

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment Requiring A Minimum Passage Of Time Before A Bill Can Be Voted On

Section 1. No Bill introduced in either the House of Representatives or Senate can be voted on until a minimum of 90 calender days has passed.  Once a bill has completed that 90 day waiting period, and is thusly passed by either the House or Senate, it does not have to undergo an additional 90 days before the other chamber can vote on it.

Section 2.  Should either the House or Senate deem it necessary to pass a particular bill sooner than the allotted 90 days a 2/3 vote of the members present shall be required.  Bills passed out of one chamber in this manner automatically have to wait a minimum of 90 days in the other chamber unless 2/3 of the members of that chamber agree to expedite it.

Section 3.  Any bill passed by either the House of Representatives of Senate, after the ratification of this article, in violation of Sections 1 or 2 of this article is to be considered null and void.  Any sitting member of Congress has the authority under this article to seek judicial recourse to have any bill passed in violation of this article injuncted.  Any bill to be found in violation of this article is ineligible to ever be considered for exemption from the 90 day minimum waiting period, regardless of title or name changes, seating of new Congresses, or cosmetic alternation to its wording.

Section 4. While not mandated, it is encouraged that each of the several states begin the process of Amending their State Constitutions to mirror this article.

Section 5. This article shall take effect on the day after its ratification, and shall apply to any bill submitted thereafter.

Section 6. This article shall become a part of the Constitution of the United States following the ratification of three-fourths of the states.

While not the 12 months that Thomas Jefferson called for in his letter to Madison, I think he would still approve of it.