By Jay Bienvenu.
Proposed amendment to the United States Constitution requiring the public review of all legislation, and establishing the rules for such review. The idea is to mandate transparency of legislation, and also help prevent legislation of obscene length by forcing its sponsors to bear its costs of promotion.
SECTION 1. Congress shall henceforth establish a service on the Internet for the public review and comment on all legislation. Within 4 weeks of the ratification of this amendment, Congress shall designate and contract with an Internet service for the purpose of publishing legislation and collecting comments from the public. All comments collected through this service shall be considered part of the public record.
SECTION 2. SPONSORSHIP. Every bill submitted for consideration must have the sponsorship of an individual member or of a committee. This one or more sponsors will bear the costs for the promotion of the bill. These costs shall be debited from the expense budget allocated to the member(s) or from personal funds of the member(s). These costs include expenses for the following:
- The printing of an official copy of the bill, to be archived by the Library of Congress.
- The printing of one copy of the bill for each member of the House of Representatives, and for each member of the Senate, and for the President. (Each person shall be free to distribute or dispose of the printed copy in a manner of his choosing at his personal expense.)
SECTION 3. All legislation shall henceforth follow the following process:
1. Upon submission into the hopper for consideration, the Congress shall immediately make the full text of the bill available for public review. The bill shall be posted on the official Internet service described in Section 1 and printed for public review as specified in Section 2.
2. The bill shall remain in its initial state, without amendment, for a period of no less than 20 business days, for public scrutiny. During this time, Congress shall solicit and collect comment and annotations from the public on the bill.
3. Once introduced on the floor, if the bill is amended, it shall remain in public review, without modification, for an additional period of no less than 10 business days. During this time, Congress shall solicit and collect comment and annotations from the public on amended text of the bill.
SECTION 4. Congress shall not pass any bill that does not indicate, in specific language, how the bill alters the existing United States code. All bills shall enumerate the sections of existing code that shall be altered, supplemented or deleted by the bill.
SECTION 5. Any bill that is passed through Congress and signed into law without having a proper public review as described in Section 3, and/or that alters existing code in a manner in which it does not describe as required by section 4, shall be considered null and unenforceable.