Prevent low quality bills from being enacted into law! 

 

 

 

 

Identify and Submit Substandard

Bills for Veto

 

Evaluate the Quality of Legislative Bills

 

Democratic governments are obligated to serve the best interests of their citizens.  To meet that obligation, governments must ensure that proposed new laws (bills) meet the highest quality standards. You can assist your legislature by evaluating the quality of bills now pending before the legislature.    

 

Because the typical state legislature receives thousands of bills for consideration each session, it is impossible for legislators to read and understand the content and probable outcome of every bill. It's no surprise that many bills of poor quality are enacted into law without sufficient research needed for an informed decision.

 

We need concerned citizens, such as you, to perform quality reviews of bills now pending before your state legislature using the "Quality Design Submissions" form below. Your findings will be posted, anonymously, on the Quality of Laws website.  Information on bills that have been found to have low quality ratings will be forwarded to your state legislators and governor for disposition (i.e., redesign or veto).  By this means, we can improve the quality of our governments.

 

To search bills pending before your State Legislature, click here.

 

Then, use the form below to evaluate each bill you have selected for review. 

 

 

  

Quality Design Submissions

State (*)  
Enter the Bill’s identification or designation number (*)
[Example: For a state in the United States, go to the web site of the legislature of the state government to obtain the identification number and other information of the bill.]
 
Enter the name of the legislative sponsor(s)

The following questions are used to evaluate the quality rating of each bill (proposed new law) that is pending before the legislature.
The quality rating of each bill will assist the governor in making the decision to enact or veto the bill. Please select the question’s checkbox for each true statement.

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  Bill’s Overall Quality Score      %
Fields with a (*) indicate a required field.

Notes:

1.  Every bill must have a title that reflects its subject matter. Titles are useful for those who catalog, enforce, interpret, and comply with the law.

2. Every bill must have a legislative sponsor. Legislators, as representatives of people, are obligated to serve the best interests of the people. The sponsorship of a bill by a legislator thus implies that the bill has a public-benefit purpose. If a bill does not have a legislative sponsor, there can be no assurance that the bill has a public-benefit purpose and for that reason it must be not be allowed to become enacted into law.

3. Every law must have a stated purpose. The intent of a law that has no stated purpose may be arbitrarily interpreted by the people who are required to enforce and comply with the law. The result of arbitrary interpretation is that the outcome of the law may be entirely different from the original public-benefit intent of the legislature. Also, it is impossible to determine the effectiveness of a law that has no stated purpose. Bills that have no stated purpose must not be enacted into law.

4. The name of the law designer must be stated on the bill. The public has a right to know who is creating laws for the public’s benefit. Also, the identity of law designers is needed so that they can receive feedback information from quality assurance programs of their law-design methodologies and results.

5. In a democracy, the identity of a law designer should be made known to the public. To expose potential conflicts of interest, the employer of the law designer must be stated. When the employer is known, the legislature can require the designer to abstain from creating bills that have a direct impact on the designer’s employer.

6. A problem cannot be solved if it has not been defined. Laws that do not address defined problems cannot be evaluated for their effectiveness. A bill that lacks problem definition must not be allowed to be enacted into law.

7. The size and nature of the problem must be known so that an effective and appropriate law-solution can be created to solve the problem. A law that addresses a problem of unknown size and severity can never be an appropriate and effective solution to the problem.

8. Laws that address more than one problem are unmanageable. Problems should be dealt with separately such that each problem has a clear purpose, proposed solution and identified metrics to evaluate the solution’s effectiveness. “Omnibus” bills must not be allowed to become law.

9. Government resources are limited and it is therefore essential that the most serious problems receive the highest priority for solution. For this reason, every problem must be assigned a priority for its solution.

10. In the design of a bill, it is important to estimate the total impact that it will have, so that a priority can be assigned and cost estimates prepared. Therefore the design of the bill must provide an estimate of the total number of people who will be effected by the bill.

11. In a democracy, laws must serve the best interests of the people as a whole; that is, each law must, at a minimum, deliver a net benefit (net benefit = benefit minus costs and other burdens) to the people. Therefore, the total costs of the proposed law must be estimated and those costs must be less than the predicted benefit of the law.

12. The undesired “side effects” of a law (e.g., increased paper work) constitute a burden upon the people that decreases the net benefit of the law. Before a bill is enacted into law, the undesired effects of the law must be evaluated. If the estimated costs (see item 11.) and burdens of the law exceed its problem-solving benefit, the bill must not be enacted into law.

13. The bill must be tested in simulations and / or in small scale trials to reinforce the designer’s predictions of its public-benefit performance. If simulations and trials are not conducted, the effect of the law is unknown and the public may be placed at risk when these untested laws are enforced.

14. In a democracy, the purpose of every law is to provide a net benefit to the people as a whole. To confirm that the law performs as expected, the designers of the law must state the measurable performance goals (milestones) of the law and the methods and means for making those measurements.

15. Bills must contain a citation of references regarding every aspect of the problem solving process, including the size and nature of the problem being addressed, the purpose of the law, the justification for the sanction, cost-benefit-risk analyses, measurable goals and metrics, and design methodologies. If a bill does not contain a citation of references, it must be assumed that the bill was created without the benefit of knowledge, and for that reason it must not be enacted into law.

16. Extraneous provisions (e.g., “earmarks” and “pork barrel” measures) in bills obfuscate the problem-solving purpose of the law (i.e., by attempting to solve multiple problems within a single bill), and significantly impede the ability to measure the law’s effectiveness. Extraneous provisions must be deleted from the bill or the bill must not be allowed to be enacted into law.

17. Bills must be simply stated and have a clear meaning to minimize the risk of misinterpretation. If a bill is overly vague and complex, it may be misinterpreted in ways that are harmful to the public, and it must not be enacted into law.