Cumberland Times-News

January 4, 2014

Enough, already

Just how many new laws do we really need?

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— When the Maryland and West Virginia legislatures start their annual sessions this Wednesday our hope is that they buck the national trend of passing a massive number of new laws.

When the calendar turned to 2014 on Jan. 1, it meant not only a new year, but also a day when 40,000 new laws took effect across the land. In contrast, Congress — which seems to be in eternal political gridlock — sent only about 60 pieces of legislation to President Barack Obama for signature into law.

Our founding fathers would never have imagined there would be a day when 40,000 new laws took effect on a single day in America. But life today, and all of its complexities, seems to force states, municipalities, counties and the Congress to come up with a fix for everything.

Every year a handful of legislators in Maryland and West Virginia introduce what can only be described as frivolous bills. These are measures that have no chance of passage and seem to be introduced only with the intention of getting the sponsor attention or publicity.

We’ve seen proposals in the past that sought to limit the number of bills a lawmaker can introduce each session. While we wouldn’t go that far, we still agree with the intent. Perhaps part of each annual legislative session should be devoted to considering whether any of our existing laws can be repealed without harm to constituents or society in general.