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A law I would love to see passed...

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  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    This law is not one that has been proposed before Congress (of either the US or States) or even local city/county governments, but it is one I think they should consider... The law would in essence be: All laws, in the United States, written or passed from the day this law goes into affect are to be written so that they can be understood by the average high school graduate.
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    Last I checked, a high percentage of High School students graduate unable to read or process information to make an intelligent decision. Unless the item is a video game, gangster characterization, guns, comic books, latest movie actor/actress of the youth acceptance, Television shows, (Kardashian included), youth meeting places or any thing what most adults say is trivial goulash, these High Scholl graduates are nothing to be proud about. However, there are bright stars and incredible outstanding students that do excel. It's just that these stars are a minority. Sad, and it is indication of where education priorities are in America.

    The average High School Graduate is a moving target and will be hard to define. Sounds like this law is like dumbing down the criteria of legislating law so that the dumb and dumber can understand. Foolish and will not make it through the legal eagles that write the laws.

  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    I had considered saying, "plain English" as opposed to "Average High School Graduate" but figured that would bring up people saying it discriminates against those who don't speak or read English. Okay... How about this... "All laws, in the United States, written or passed on or after the day this law goes into effect are to be written in plain English, and translated as necessary"? I realize the legislature wouldn't pass it, but that isn't the only way for something to become a law...
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Ranma,
    It sounds like a very good idea to me. Things (new laws) should be written, detailed, explained in straight forward terms.
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    One problem of plain English is it is too open to interpretation. Plain English does not explain in "Plain" terms that cannot be interpreted differently. I was told this by my CPA and my lawyer friends. It is common for someone desiring simpler means to define a law, but the way lawyers use it would be a travesty and ignoring the "intent" of the law. How many times do you hear this was the "Intent" of the law and find out a ruling based on a definition at the time. The 2nd Amendment is classic example in how it was written in it's day and now being interpreted or argued as a right for anybody to possess a gun. There are countless arguments that say the 2nd Amendment was not about a freedom for anybody to possess a gun. So, you can see how a simple law can be misconstrued to mean something else long after it was written.

    Instead of making laws in plain English, lets promote better education and makes sure that all High School Students graduate with knowledge to understand how a law is written and the ability to interpret laws. This would be much easier than attempting to rewrite all the laws in America.
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    AmcmurryFreedom Wrote: One problem of plain English is it is too open to interpretation. Plain English does not explain in "Plain" terms that cannot be interpreted differently. I was told this by my CPA and my lawyer friends. It is common for someone desiring simpler means to define a law, but the way lawyers use it would be a travesty and ignoring the "intent" of the law. How many times do you hear this was the "Intent" of the law and find out a ruling based on a definition at the time. The 2nd Amendment is classic example in how it was written in it's day and now being interpreted or argued as a right for anybody to possess a gun. There are countless arguments that say the 2nd Amendment was not about a freedom for anybody to possess a gun. So, you can see how a simple law can be misconstrued to mean something else long after it was written.

    Instead of making laws in plain English, lets promote better education and makes sure that all High School Students graduate with knowledge to understand how a law is written and the ability to interpret laws. This would be much easier than attempting to rewrite all the laws in America.
    Because that would require a 4 year degree, not a High School education... As for intent... As it stands now 1 law can be taken a half dozen ways. Your point about the 2nd Amendment kind of proves the need for a law making laws easier to understand... If the 2nd amendment was written in plain English (even the plain English) of the time, we wouldn't need to interpret it.

    Truthfully I think the 'intent' of making laws hard to understand is to create the need for lawyers.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    How about the idiot lawmakers being required to explain what and why they are voting on? Most haven't even read the bill I'll bet much less actually understand the consequences. Their staffs or lobbyists write the bills and tell them how to vote!
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Ramno is right for a change; indeed this country runs on lawyers (word twisters), churches and the Army; So a great combination to get screwed.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    RanmaMOJ Wrote: This law is not one that has been proposed before Congress (of either the US or States) or even local city/county governments, but it is one I think they should consider... The law would in essence be: All laws, in the United States, written or passed from the day this law goes into affect are to be written so that they can be understood by the average high school graduate.
    I don't necessarily disagree that some of our laws are written far too complexly, but I don't know if writing them so an average high school student can understand them takes into account the complexities of how a spending bill becomes a law in the first place. It's very easy to say that we should write bills in layman's terms, but it's far more difficult to make that a reality.

    The first thing we must discuss is that the average law is nowhere near 1,000 pages long. The average bill that becomes law clocks in at 15.2 pages. Only bills that involve spending--like the budget, the Farm Bill, Health Care Reform, etc. clock in at over 1,000 pages because they are genuinely complex things that affect a wide swath of the economy. Spending bills and those other big ticket items also have so many pages because of the Amendments that are passed in them that are meant to guarantee a certain members support. We may not like that, but that's how our Federal Government has done things for 200 plus years and I do not see that changing anytime soon.

    Once we get over the fact that the average bill is nowhere near 1,000 pages, we must determine the best way forward to shorten our major spending bills. Once broad guidelines are introduced into both houses of Congress, they go to committee. That's where the real rubber hits the road and a one page guideline becomes a 1,000 page bill. It becomes that long because writing a spending bill for a nation of 300 million people is extremely complex, especially in America. A spending law in divided Government is even more difficult to get through both houses and onto the Presidents desk for signature.

    The other elephant in the room (pun intended--they are typically physically in the room writing these bills) are the lobbying firms who want to make sure their big companies are taken care of. We may not like that, but we have to accept the fact that lobbying reform is going nowhere fast because both sides of the aisle are in on it. We can thank the Supreme Court for solidifying that fact with their horrendous Citizens United ruling which made the McCain–Feingold Act obsolete. If we want shorter spending bills, we need to find a way to get multinational corporations out of our legislative bargaining sessions. Not just that, but figure out a way to do it that the Supreme Court won't immediately make obsolete once again.

    I've gotten a little off topic here, but I feel it's important to look at the cause of the problem so we can begin to find a solution to the problem. When and if we ever are able to get big money out of politics is when we will begin to write laws that are geared towards the average citizen once again. Up and until then, we will continue to see spending bills that run into the thousands of pages.
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    IMO the laws are worded the way they are to give wiggle room to the people who make the laws, enforce the laws, and truly know the laws. As an example: Tax laws... Make it simple... Either a flat tax rate based on what you buy or a flat tax rate based on income (Say everyone pays 15% of their income, the percentage doesn't change no matter how much you make). The more you make, the more you pay. The less you make, the less you pay.