Today Rep. Stacey Campfield and Tennessee Politics Blog each write about the Tennessean's article regarding the excessive number of bills and congratulatory resolutions the state legislature filed during session.
The Tennessean's article states that they reviewed over 6000 documents. While the number of filings is probably far too large (depending on what you might personally think is important), the total number of bills, House Joint Resolutions, Senate Joint Resolutions, House Resolutions and Senate Resolutions amounted to 4114.
The total number of House bills filed was 2416, or an average of 24.4 per House member. HJR’s 702 or 7.1 per member. HR’s 215 or 2.1 per member.
The total number of Senate bills filed was 2395, or an average of 72.6 per Senate member. SJR’s 589 or 17.8 per member. SR’s 193 or 5.8 per member.
This means that 21 House bills had no Senate companion bill. However, the member can have a Senator file a companion when the Session resumes in January, 08. If none is filed, the bill dies.
I think the stats in the article might be off. My stats said I filed 40 bills - I filed 34 (extremely important) bills. The number of resolutions I filed was correct at 13. Eleven of my bill ideas were enacted in the following manner; I passed seven bills, three ideas were amended in to other bills opening the same section of law, and one idea received funding in the Governor's budget although no legislation passed.
To rate a legislator effective or ineffective is not entirely fair. Gary Odum passes a far greater number of bills than most because, as Majority Leader, he is asked to file all of the administration's bills. The Majority Leader's job is to represent an administration of the same party. The same goes for committee chairmen. They carry the work of the committee for the administration or for "housekeeping" purposes.
There are so many types of bills that it is very hard to rate these things. There are general bills, local bills, simple amending bills that change happy to glad, technical bills, bills that create a whole new way of doing things or a whole new idea. The latter type of bill may take years to pass because people have to get used to the idea, or it may cost money and the legislator has to find a way to do it cheaply.
Stacey is correct; they are supposed to charge our mail accounts for the Resolutions.
No doubt that some over do it on the Resolutions. But you'd be surprised, some people actually break down and cry when they've been recognized by the state for a long and supportive marriage, a job well done or a life well lived.