Quality Design Standards are Necessary for the Creation of Laws that Satisfy the Purpose of Democracy

 QUALITY DESIGN STANDARDS 

 

The purpose of quality design (QD) standards is to assure that products and services are effective, cost-efficient, user-friendly, and free from serious side effects. QD standards thus protect the safety and well being of the public. They also reduce overall costs because they minimize design defects and errors so that major re-design efforts are rarely necessary. 

 

QD standards have proven to be highly successful for businesses, and they are the basis for the operation of government regulatory agencies such as the FAA, FDA, and NRC.  The following proposed QD standards for laws are derived from the QD standards that now apply, as a matter of law, to every major productive industry (except, ironically, the lawmaking industry). 

 

QUALITY DESIGN STANDARDS FOR LAWS 

 

For a democracy, every proposed new law (bill) must be designed to solve a societal problem in a just manner and serve the best interests of the people.  The design model for laws is called the ideal lawTo accomplish this, each bill must meet the following quality design standards: 

 

Open competitive bidding for law-design contracts 

The selection of a lawmaking institution to design a bill must be based upon a process of open competitive bidding for the law design contract. The qualifications for institutions that bid on law design contracts will be established by the legislature.

 

Qualified law designers

The individuals who design bills must meet a licensure requirement or other measure of competency for the creation of bills. The standards for licensure or other measure of competency will be established by the legislature.

 

Structure of bills

To the greatest extent possible, each bill must be succinct and simply stated with a clear meaning.  

 

Quality criteria

Each bill, and every component of each bill, must be dedicated solely to the solution of a societal problem that has been selected by the legislature to be resolved. Each bill must contain validated statements of the following:

 

  • Definition of the societal problem that the bill addresses
  • Results of analyses of the size and nature of the problem.
  • Priority assignment of the problem by the legislature (first priority, second, third...)
  • Name and qualifications of the law design institution and law designer(s)
  • Measurable goal of the bill (the purpose, or “intent of the law”)
  • Justification of the sanction (tax, fine, subsidy, lawsuit, etc.) of the bill as the optimum solution of the problem in the best interests of the people
  •  Model (“blueprint”) of the bill, which was used to simulate and optimize the bill during the design process, and to predict its outcome.  In a democracy, the net benefit (benefit minus direct and indirect costs, side effects, and other burdens) to the people as a whole must always be positive   
  •  No extraneous provisions (“pork barrel,” special interest exemptions…) are included in the bill 
  •  Method(s) and milestones for measuring and verifying results
  • References to all of the above 

 

QUALITY DESIGN STANDARDS -- DETAIL

 

The following further explain Quality Design standards:

 

Regarding Open Competitive Bidding

Open competitive bidding for law-design contracts is important for four reasons:

 

  1. The public will be protected from poorly designed laws because the law design institutions that bid on contracts will be required to meet licensure or other competency requirements (established by the legislatrure) to qualify for the bidding process.
  2. By accepting the lowest bid from competing institutions, the costs of law design projects will be held to a minimum.
  3. Conflicts of interest will be minimized because the institutions that openly compete for contracts will be independent from government and known to the public.  Currently, legislative staff personnel are frequently given the task of designing bills for legislators.  This practice is an unacceptable conflict of interest.  Legislators are often motivated to advance their political careers and ideology, and the legislator's staff can create laws that satisfy the legislator's personal and political goals rather than the needs of the public.  The best way to end this serious conflict of interest is to have the design of laws performed by independent, non-government contractors on the basis of open competitive bidding.
  4. By accepting a design contract from the legislature, the law-design institution will be held accountable to legislative oversight for high standards of quality in the design process.

 

Importance of licensure for law designers

Law designers must be highly qualified. They must demonstrate their competency through a licensing procedure or equivalent process. 

 

Structure matters

Each bill law must be succinct and simply stated so that its meaning is clear for those who will enforce, interpret, and comply with the law. Laws that are vague, complex, or have subtle meanings are prone to misinterpretations, and are unacceptable.

 

Definition of the societal problem that the law addresses    

A law has public value only if it addresses a defined problem. It is impossible to solve a problem

that is not defined.

 

Results of analyses of the size and nature of the problem        

Before an effective solution to a problem can be formulated, the size and nature of the problem must be

known. 

 

Priority assignment of the problem by the legislature (first priority, second, third...)        

Government resources are limited. Therefore, the solution of problems must be performed on a

priority basis.

 

Measurable goal of the amended law 

The goal, purpose or intent of the law must be clearly stated. When the purpose of the law is not stated, the law may be misinterpreted in a manner that defeats the public-benefit intent of the legislature. A clearly stated purpose also simplifies the evaluation of the law in the quality assurance review process. 

 

Justification of the sanction        

To serve the best interests of the people, the sanction, or forcing mechanism, of each law must be effective, cost-efficient, safe, and user-friendly. Law designers must justify their selection of the sanction (tax, subsidy, lawsuit, jail term…) for each bill as the most productive means for solving the defined problem.

 

Model ("blueprint") of the law 

The construction of a model of the law is essential to the design process.  Models enable designers to optimize the design of the law and make accurate predictions of its future performance.

 

Models also serve as a template for the design of the next generation of laws. As feedback knowledge of the  performance of existing laws is gained, that knowledge can be used to improve models so that each new generation of laws can be designed to surpass the performance of the previous generation of laws.

 

No extraneous provisions 

Extraneous provisions in a law divert government resources away from the problem solving task of the law. QD standards will effectively block extraneous provisions by requiring that each law solve a defined problem. QD standards will not prevent special interests from lobbying legislators for favors. However, QD standards will permit a special interest provision to be incorporated into a law ONLY if it directly contributes to the solution of the problem that the law addresses. In effect, QD standards will de-link money from legislation. QD standards will secure effective "campaign finance reform" while maintaining the public's right to petition and interact with legislators. 

 

Method(s) and milestones for measuring and verifying results 

It is essential that the outcomes of laws are known so that non-performing and detrimental laws can be repealed and errors of design can be corrected. Therefore, designers of laws must state the methods and milestones that can be used by quality assurance investigators to determine the performance of each law.

 

References 

References establish accountability for laws. A citation of references is necessary to verify that the design process was based upon relevant and reliable data and methods. If references are not included in a law, the only safe assumption is that the law was created without the benefit of knowledge -- a condition of ignorance that cannot be tolerated for any design process that affects the safety and well being of the public.