Monday, June 23, 2014
Giving Up Control
I can understand that when a bill is introduced into a state legislature, perhaps all the details of the workings of the finished law might not be worked out. But what I simply can't understand is when a bill simply gives its soul up to the bureaucracy. When a bill states that it is 'authorizing the (named Dept. or Agency) to 'adopt, amend, and apply reasonable rules' regarding how this bill will work, it is giving away all power and control to the named government body.
Think about it for a moment. Let's say that you were introducing a bill to create a training program for a certification of some new position to help control traffic under a specific set of conditions created by the bill. Then, in the first paragraph of your bill, you write something to the effect of; "the Director of (Whichever Dept.) will create, adopt, apply, and amend rules and regulations regarding the certification process for those seeking certification as a (whateveritis)."
Sounds all official and legal, doesn't it? Except for one thing. That one sentence just stripped all control of the futureof your bill, and dumped it into the lap of some group of bureaucrats. Even if the legislators pass your bill and the Governor signs it into law, the heart and soul of your bill will be molded entirely by bureaucrats. You may have had a grand and glorious concept for this new position. They don't care about that. they may not even understand completely what the position this new law creates is. But they do know they have the power to regulate every aspect of its existence. Including what conditions must be met to earn certification as a "Certified Whateveritis".
In your mind, it may have been a simple thing to set up. But that was before you gave your newborn law over to the bureaucracy. They will spend a great deal of time breaking down the position your new law created. Then they will create regulations on to when this position can even be used. The training to gain certification will be adopted and applied in whatever way they feel is appropriate to maintaing their control over this new law. Guess what, that may even include any special items or clothing that they deem this certified person must wear or use. Whatever they feel is necessary to comply with their regulations. The cost of the training program for each person? Again, that is solely up to the bureaucracy that was tasked with creating it.
Because your original bill read "adopt, apply, and amend" they can make rules as they see fit. Which can be disastrous if the position was something originally opposed by the agency in the first place. By using words, and phrases that have a sound good, but are vague. Or that give unspecified control and power to an agency, you are asking for trouble. Do not expect any bureaucrat to make simple, even logical, regulations. There is an old, but sadly true joke about bureaucrats that goes something like this; "The sole purpose of a bureaucrat is to take something simple, and complicate it beyond all recognition." Do you really want to give the future of your bill to caeer bureaucrats who earn a living by creating regulations for everything?
I use this example of a new position to help control traffic, because last year in the Washington State legislature, there was a bill introduced that was intending to do just that. It was intending to create a "certified road-guard" position to control traffic at intersections for groups of motorcycles to stay together. While it's language was not exactly as described above, it was very close. They had a concept in mind, and even had their own estimation (although I have no idea how they arrived at it) of what the certification program would cost an individual. Let's just say there was over a $1,000.00 gap between what the Dept. of Licensing estimated it would cost an individual to take the course, and what the people advocating for the bill thought. That was before the bureaucracy had even really begun to disect and regulate the bill. The Dept. of Licensing was opposed to it, as was the Washington State Patrol. So the bureaucrats were going to do whatever they could to regulate this position into irrelevency, even if it had passed into law. Which I am glad to say it didn't, and not just for the reasons I have already mentioned.
Giving the government the power to make rules, and then change them as they see fit, is a dangerous gamble. As long as the rules do not violate existing law, or appear to, there is little to constrain bureaucrats from creating whatever policies they wish. As an example of another law, already existing on the books of Washington State, take a look at RCW 46.37.005. Title 46 of the RCW (Revised Code of Washington) relates to "Motor Vehicles". Chapter 37 of Title 46 of the RCW relates to "Vehicle Lighting and Other Equipment". Now here comes the tricky part, Section 005 of RCW 46.37 relates to "State Patrol -- Additional Powers and Duties".
"In addition to those powers and duties elsewhere granted, the chief of the Washington state patrol shall have the power and the duty to adopt, apply, and enforce such reasonable rules and regulations (1) relating to proper types of vehicles or combinations thereof for hauling passengers, commodities, freight, and supplies, (2) relating to vehicle equipment, and (3) relating to the enforcement of the provisions of this title with regard to vehicle equipment, as may be deemed necessary for the public welfare and safety in addition to but not inconsistent with the provisions of this title.
The chief of the Washington state patrol is authorized to adopt by regulation, federal standards relating to motor vehicles and vehicle equipment, issued pursuant to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, or any amendment to said act, notwithstanding any provision in Title 46 RCW inconsistent with such standards. Federal standards adopted pursuant to this section shall be applicable only to vehicles manufactured in a model year following the adoption of such standards."
Now I don't claim to be an attorney, but my reading of that one sentence seems to say that when it comes to "vehicles", "equipment", and sepecially "enforcement", the chief of the Washington State Patrol has a fairly free hand to "adopt, apply, and enforce" any regulation he wants. You see, the RCW gives the authority to the State Patrol to create rules and regulations. Those rules and regulations become "WAC"s (Washington Administrative Code). Those are laws created by bureaucrats that affect all of us in Washington state. Laws that regulate our lives in so many ways, and slowly strip our Liberties, our very Rights & Freedoms from us.
Every state agency is run by WAC. They get their power, and their control over aspects of our lives through the WACs. Everything from requirements for getting Food Stamps, to Vehicle Licensing (had to by a new license plate because your old one is "too old" and supposedly no longer "retro-reflective"?), to getting Insurance and more. Don't get me wrong, some level of bureaucracy is necessary in a society. But be wary of creating, or allowing to be created, needleass bureaucracy with little control that creates its own rules and applies them to your life.
Get involved in some level with the protection of our Liberties. Whether it is joining a grassroots organization that is registered and licensed to work towards a political end, or just getting to know your legislators on a personal basis. If they (and their legislative aids) get to know you by face and name as a constituent (and not a raving pain in the ass), you might be amazed at the results of your efforts to protect our Rights and Freedoms.
Catch you on the road sometime...