This past session representatives smothered HB 373 by state Rep. Steve Carter, which would have amended the Constitution to reduce the length of the even-year “general” session of the Legislature and have limited the number of non-local bills intended to have the effect of law that a legislator could introduce to 10. Carter argued that Louisiana ranked high in the number of bills introduced but low in passage rates compared to other states, and so changing these parameters would make for a more efficient, productive, and less-costly Legislature.
Naturally, it went nowhere. Many legislators are enthralled with filing bills, some racking up dozens a session, which this time resulted in almost 2,000 being filed and almost 900 passed (and, believe it or not, in the past two decades there have been years where these figures were around 50 percent higher), and didn’t want time or numerical limitations on them. Their addiction to filing them comes from a desire to win credit from constituents and/or special interests by making a physical demonstration they support or care about something (even if there’s no chance the bill could pass given political realities) and/or from an ideological imperative drives them to express that and/or because they enjoy the process and perhaps psychological satisfaction of winning passage and having their handiwork appear in the law or the Constitution. And this is facilitated by having more days in a session to work these over.