Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Sometimes Non-Productivity is a feature, not a bug

Especially when it is the Michigan Legislature not being "productive": They could have done better
Lawmakers were on the way to their lowest output of this decade until they passed 50 more bills in the flurry of activity just before they adjourned for the year on Dec. 20. That put them up near the 240 mark -- there's not an official tally yet -- topping the low of 221 acts adopted in 2007. Two of the most-significant measures passed in December: A state-wide ban on smoking in restaurants and bars but not on Detroit casinos' gaming floors; and a package of new education reforms that position Michigan to compete for millions in Obama administration Race to the Top school money. We'd call it a good year's work if they also had passed at least a few of the spending reforms to deal with another looming budget deficit in the $2-billion range. Instead, they've left a lot of heavy lifting for the year ahead.

Low output means fewer laws clogging the works, and that's something to be applauded, not something to be miffed about.

The Detroit New's enchantment with the "flurry" of 50 new laws in less than 20 days in December to get the legislature to beat their previous low is hardly something to be happy about.

After all, it should not be a cause to celebrate that the legislature beat 2007's low of 221, but rather something to ponder that we're now faced with 240 or so new laws from 2009 to live with that we lived without well enough in 2008.

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