LeBeau Bill Proposes Legislative Overhaul

Should Connecticut get rid of the two chambers it currently has, and reduce the number of lawmakers from 151 down to 60? And should those lawmakers serve four-year terms?

That’s the gist of a bill proposed by Sen. Gary LeBeau (who may or may not be running for governor), which will be given a public hearing on Monday.

Here is the text of the bill.

While I find it unlikely that the members of the General Assembly would voluntarily vote to get rid of nearly two thirds of its members, the proposal is an intriguing one. A unicameral (one chamber) legislature also seems to work for Nebraska, though whether the model is any better or worse than the bicameral model we have now is debatable at best.

It would certainly cut down on the cost of elections.

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24 responses to “LeBeau Bill Proposes Legislative Overhaul

  1. Sure. The legislature will vote themselves out of offices that have more perks than Anna Nicole Smith’s diaper bag.

    We can’t even get the Democrats in the legislature (including him, incidentally) to vote for a modest reduction of their pay and now this guy is hallucinating that they may vote the offices they hold out of existence?

    LeBeau should be careful. If he pushes it the other Senate Democrats could end up locking him in the Senate bathroom the way those high school kids did on that bus. Then we can have another hilarious news article about him throttling someone.

    If you voted for this guy what will it take for you to start getting embarrassed about it?

  2. wtfdnucsailor

    I think it is an intriguing idea that should be explored. However, I doubt that there is a majority of legislators that would agree to eliminate their positions. The discussion will certainly be interesting. I hope it will be enlightening as well.

  3. …… A unicameral (one chamber) legislature also seems to work for Nebraska, though whether the model is any better or worse than the bicameral model we have now is debatable at best.

    Lower taxes, less regulation, and smaller government also work in Nebraska. What do you say we give that a try in CT, Genghis? I thought so….

  4. PrahaPartizan

    I can’t see any state legislature voting to eliminate over half of its membership. Frankly, I don’t know if that is necessary under any circumstance. However, state government might just run more smoothly if all of the legislators were members of one house. That would eliminate all of the opportunities for rascality available with two separate chambers which must vote on two separate pieces of legislation. It also enhances the power and prestige of the legislature because its voice is only one person, not two. Now, it only someone would also have enough sense to suggest six-year terms with a two term limit and only a third of the chamber standing for election every two years as in the United States Senate. Then, we’d get some turnover and maintain institutional memory.

  5. It takes a dentist to get any constituent service out of half the clowns we have now because getting them to even call back is like pulling teeth.

    So we should have less of the rascals and stick `em in there for twice the term length?

    Sure, we’ll get right on it.

  6. Less representation? Sure, I’m all for it. Jeez.

    Works for Nebraska? Well, I’m sure if Connecticut was populated by more sheep than people, it would work great here too.

  7. Works for Nebraska? Well, I’m sure if Connecticut was populated by more sheep than people, it would work great here too.

    Cows Bob, not sheep, cows.

    England and Wales, sheep, Nebraska, cows.

    You should hear what the Brits say about the Welsh regarding those sheep too; but I digress.

  8. All in favor, vote aye. AYE!

  9. The Legislature doesn’t need to eliminate a body, they need to begin acting responsibly.

    For instance, many of the bills that get proposed every year are tantamount to me going to a Council meeting and proposing a resolution to fill a pothole on XYZ Road and trim a tree on ABC Drive.

    Instead, Donovan and Williams should:

    1) craft body rules that prohibit excessive use of legislative staff for such resolutions. Say… allow only 10 bills per Rep and an equivalent for the Senate. This would reduce the overall workload of legislative staff. And it would force legislators to stop with their nonsense bills (like state cookies) and rather than charging the taxpayers for the work of those staffers… legislators would suddenly be required to tell constituents “no,” rather than saying “yes” and letting the bill die in committee.

    2) Then they should propose a bill which directs each state agency to provide them with the criteria used by that agency in prioritizing projects… followed by the agencies using those criteria to set their priorities… then the legislature should adopt those priorities on an annual basis. (Obviously things could deviate from the Legislature’s approved project list, but then the agencies would need to publicly explain that deviation.)

  10. Unfortunately, my two suggestions would likely strip a great deal of power from individual legislators (same as going from 187 to 60). So I don’t foresee anything changing.

  11. Cows Bob, not sheep, cows.

    As I wrote that comment, I absolutely knew you’d be the guy to dispute it! 🙂

  12. “Works for Nebraska? Well, I’m sure if Connecticut was populated by more sheep than people, it would work great here too.”

    Well given the number of people here in CT who vote the party line like sheep, what’s the difference?

  13. 2) Then they should propose a bill which directs each state agency to provide them with the criteria used by that agency in prioritizing projects… followed by the agencies using those criteria to set their priorities… then the legislature should adopt those priorities on an annual basis. (Obviously things could deviate from the Legislature’s approved project list, but then the agencies would need to publicly explain that deviation.)

    Tim: You should read David Osbourne’s book entitled: “The Price of Government.” Your above comment is essentially his thesis.

  14. rooster… interesting. Maybe someday. I figured I wasn’t the first person to think of it. Would be nice though if our elected officials would follow Osbourne’s lead, particularly if the process change has already been mapped out for them.

  15. Works for Nebraska? Well, I’m sure if Connecticut was populated by more sheep than people, it would work great here too.

    Nebraska has 1.78 mllion people, Connecticut is almost exactly double that. At the end of 2001, the last year for which I could find information, Nebraska only had 101,000 sheep.

    Source: http://www.nass.usda.gov/ne/agrifact/agf0211.txt

    Connecticut only has 5,100 sheep: http://www.nass.usda.gov/nh/2006SheepLambs.pdf

  16. OK, now cue ACR with the “Sheep being registered by ACORN” joke!

  17. As I wrote that comment, I absolutely knew you’d be the guy to dispute it!

    Well Bob; how much business have you done in Nebraska?

    Have you ever been there?

    Nice folks; and 20 years ago a Benz dealer that would let me buy vehicles for lease customers for a ton less than anyone on the east coast; did a lot of business out there for several years.

    In fact she used to say that if all the Mercedes her family dealership sold were still in Lincoln, there would have been at least one for every other cow.
    (Other Mercedes dealers loathed her – which is always a good sign.)

    Same place sold combines too; 10 or 11 new car / truck franchises *and* all sorts of farm equipment – not your everyday new car lot by any means.

    The midwest is a whole different planet than here.

  18. Nebraska has 1.78 mllion people, Connecticut is almost exactly double that. At the end of 2001, the last year for which I could find information, Nebraska only had 101,000 sheep.

    But Nebraska has close to 2 million cows.

  19. Perhaps a compromise bill could reduce the numbers of people in the legislature from 187 to 60… and the other 127 seats could be populated with sheep and cows? Or would that be considered discriminatory against horses, chickens and Billy Goat Gruff?

    Some may argue for the election of hamsters, but their lifespan is less than 4 years and would be problematic. In an effort to include hamsters, perhaps we maintain the two year term of office?

  20. 1) craft body rules that prohibit excessive use of legislative staff for such resolutions. Say… allow only 10 bills per Rep and an equivalent for the Senate. This would reduce the overall workload of legislative staff. And it would force legislators to stop with their nonsense bills (like state cookies) and rather than charging the taxpayers for the work of those staffers… legislators would suddenly be required to tell constituents “no,” rather than saying “yes” and letting the bill die in committee.

    Timely point.

    Tomorrow’s GAE public hearing includes such urgent issues as

    AN ACT CONCERNING DESIGNATION OF THE BALLROOM POLKA AS THE OFFICIAL STATE POLKA.

    http://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/TOB/H/2009HB-05370-R01-HB.htm

    and, because we have plenty of time for anything but serious business…

    AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATE DANCE.

    http://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/TOB/S/2009SB-01156-R00-SB.htm.

    Yup, one bill wouldn’t quite cover it. And what was it estimated a few years ago — every bill costs $7,800?

    And if you have tme to spare, also at tomorrow’s hearing —

    AN ACT ESTABLISHING THOMAS PAINE DAY
    AN ACT ESTABLISHING CHIARI MALFORMATION AWARENESS MONTH
    AN ACT ESTABLISHING FIBROMYALGIA AWARENESS DAY

    cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching!!

    How about AN ACT TO TAKE YOUR LEGISLATOR TO WORK DAY? (so they can see what work entales)

  21. hahaha…

    seriously though… $7800 / bill? That’s ridiculous.

    Donovan & Williams could probably build some goodwill if they got their respective bodies in line to start taking their role as policymakers seriously.

    My understanding is that at least some state legislatures do not introduce all the nonsense bills.

  22. “But Nebraska has close to 2 million cows. ”

    And lots of flatulence. I’ll be we’ve got them beat on air quality.

  23. And lots of flatulence. I’ll be we’ve got them beat on air quality.

    Doubtful. Especially if you take a reading inside the state capitol. The only thing of substance our legislature passes is flatulence.

  24. Bruce Rubenstein

    what a stupid proposal LaBeau put forward….and this guy wants the Democratic endorsement? His proposal will be like his gubenatorial aspirations…DOA

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