Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Legislators...Watch those Bills

Vigilance Needed from Legislators to Protect Liberty.

During my decade as a Colorado legislator, it became evident that most legislators fail to use a limited-government filter when drafting legislation.  To further our freedoms, individual liberties must be considered first and foremost when evaluating legislation.  Much legislation is simply created as a response to current events of the day with little or no regard to long-range consequences.  The result, most often is a growth in the power and control of the bureaucracy over the individual. While legislation is generally proposed with good intentions, it is too-often crafted at the expense of the personal liberty of the citizens represented.

Observing this trend, caused me to develop a heightened sensitivity to the erosion of personal liberty, which in turn led me to adopt the philosophy of voting NO on bills that could not be proven to advance liberty or prevent its erosion in some way.  To create a degree of voting consistency based on limited government, I developed a set of filters which I used when analyzing each piece of legislation.  Some will say the list is too long; I submit, however that its very length indicates the many ways our personal liberties can be usurped. 

 Although this list was initially crafted as a guide for Colorado's state legislators, many of the questions would equally apply to  City Council members and County Commissioners as they too pass regulations, resolutions and the like that affect the individual liberties of the citizens they represent.

The following is a list of "filters" that if considered by politicians would hopefully reduce the frequent erosion of our personal liberties.

A “YES” to ANY of the following questions should  trigger a “NO” vote from conservative legislators.
  • Does the bill limit personal liberty/freedom, personal responsibility or free enterprise?
  • Does the bill exert greater government influence over our personal lives or that of the business community?
  • Does the bill allow the government to meddle in free enterprise?
  • Does the bill increase taxes, fees, or regulation costs on individuals or businesses?
  • Could the bill eventually lead to an increase in taxes/fees or violate the spirit or intent of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights? 
  • Does the bill erode an individual's property rights in any form?
  • Does the bill redistribute wealth?
  • Does the bill promote equality rather than equal opportunity?
  • Does the bill concern itself with groups rather than individual citizens?
  • Does the bill infringe on the rule-of-law?
  • Does the bill in any way promote illegal immigration? 
  • Does the bill fall outside the purview of the U.S. or state constitution?
  • Does the bill negatively impact the traditional family?
  • Does the bill lessen the authority of the parents over their children?
  • Does the bill negatively impact the faith community or an individual’s right of conscience?
  • Does the bill usurp the historical role of the religious community
  • Does the bill run counter to traditional moral values?
  • Does the bill negatively affect the sanctity of life?
  • Does the bill further entangle the state with the Federal government? (or receive Federal funds)? see WSJ Article:
  • Does bill increase the state’s budget over that of the previous year?
  • Does the bill allow for funding through gifts, grants and donations?(i.e.by special-interest groups) 
  • Does the bill increase a citizen’s dependency on government services?
  • Does the bill allow increased government influence on K-12-aged children (i.e. Pre-Kindergarten, Full-day Kindergarten, or daycare?) 
  • Does the bill require one or more government agencies to collect personal or business data?
  • Does the bill reduce transparency of government operations?
  • Does the bill diminish local control?
  • Does the bill reduce a person's right to self-defense?
  • Does the bill decrease the integrity of the voting system in any manner?
  • Does the bill refer to "comprehensive" changes? 
  • Does the bill transfer money from a specific-use cash-fund account for a non-related use?
  • Does the bill’s passage seem to be advocated by organized “stakeholder” groups (stakeholder groups almost always require taxpayer dollars to further their future income under the guise of "helping" others.)