Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Term Paper Act of 2009

The incomplete House version of the health care bill is already over 1000 pages. It's not done, the amendments haven't all been tacked on yet, and it's already over 1000 pages. If it were a work of fiction (no jokes please), it would rank up there with War and Peace as one of the longest novels ever written.

It is also written in legalese, so to read it, a person needs to speak that language. Translating it into English would probably triple the page count. It is also not the first bill to fit this criterion. The Stimulus bill passed several months ago was also this way. The same was true of Cap 'n Trade. This means that the average citizen has no hope of reading, understanding, and having productive dialogue about the legislation.

Since this administration complains constantly about its opponents not putting forth solutions, here is a solution to this problem: The Term Paper Act of 2009.

The TPA is inspired by requirements for term papers and other major written projects in high school and college, which always come with strict requirements for length, font, and style. The TPA will place the following restrictions on all legislation in the US Congress.

1. The combined length of any piece of legislation and its attachments including amendments thereto, with the exception of one yearly budget, shall not exceed 10, single-sided, 8.5 x 11" sized sheets of paper in a size 12 Times New Roman font, single-spaced, with half-inch margins on all sides.

2. A final, printed copy fitting the requirements cited in Section 1 must be present on the floor no less than four hours prior to the vote.

3. Prior to the vote in the House of Representatives, the final, printed copy cited in Section 1 must be read by the Speaker of the House on the floor. This reading must take place no earlier than one hour prior to the vote.
a. If the Speaker of the House is unavailable, a member of the House in good standing shall be selected by the members on the floor to read the bill.

4. Prior to the vote in the Senate, the final, printed copy cited in Section 1 must be read by the President of the Senate on the floor. This reading must take place no earlier than one hour prior to the vote.
b. If the President of the Senate is unavailable, the Senate Majority Leader shall read the bill.
c. If both the President of the Senate and Senate Majority Leader are unavailable, a member of the Senate in good standing shall be selected by the members on the floor to read the bill.

Sign below if you would like to join the petition to have this bill translated into legalese and brought to Congress immediately, or propose your own amendment to this bill.

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