After yesterday's news that state Sen. Frank Nicely wants to introduce legislation to arm teachers, we had little hope that the next legislative session (which starts in January) would be anything but more of the same insanity. However, a press release today from House Speaker Beth Harwell today actually gives us hope -- a teeny tiny little bit of hope.
In the release, Harwell announces she will recommend several rule changes for the House, including restructuring committees and moving to a paperless legislature -- not because it's the environmentally friendly thing to do, of course, but because it would save money. However, the biggest change Harwell wants is this: "Limiting the number of bills filed to 10 per member annually which will encourage members to prioritize."
Go ahead, catch your breath. We had to do the same thing. The Republican leader of a chamber that has a supermajority actually wants to limit the number of bills its members can file so they will be forced to prioritize and not just file any ole bill that suits their fancy.
Of course, the House Rules Committee will have to approve the changes, so it's possible they won't come to pass. But in the most recent general assembly, House members introduced a whopping 3817 bills. Even split over two years, that's a ridiculous number for a legislature that just meets for a few months. So we strongly applaud Harwell's move.
The only problem, alas? The Senate won't be subject to the same limits. Despite the smaller numbers of members in that body, they still managed to introduce 3817 bills in the same two-year period. But who knows? Maybe Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey will surprise us and introduce limits it that chamber too. And if that happens, we can't wait to see how Sen. Stacey Campfield reacts.