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senate Bill S. 1572

Should Each Bill in Congress Only Address One Subject?

Argument in favor

For the sake of transparency, members of Congress need to stop writing and passing bills that address multiple unrelated policy issues. Multi-subject bills may deceptively include policies that lawmakers and the public overlook because of misleading titles.

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05/31/2016
Absolutely! Drilling in the Arctic that 90% of the population is against was finally successfully approved in a bill that had nothing to do with oil, drilling or the Arctic! These back door attachments are how crooked legislation the people are against gets pushed through. It needs to stop!
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Jorge's Opinion
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05/31/2016
There have been too many piggy-back laws that have passed that negatively affect the public and are forced in through necessary bills that have to be passed so the country can continue running
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operaman's Opinion
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05/31/2016
Each bill should be separate and have an expiration date attached if applicable. No more funding of old outdated bills just so old decrepit congressman can feel needed.
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Argument opposed

It’s not practical to expect Congress to only introduce bills that deal with one subject area, they only have a finite amount of time in session and need to address a wide variety of policies. Combining unrelated, unobjectionable bills saves time.

Gail's Opinion
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06/01/2016
There could be certain cases in which multiple issues should be resolved with a single bill. This increases the government's power and efficiency in creating legislation.
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Zachary's Opinion
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06/01/2016
Not enough time in the day for all of that legislation. You must combine some but that doesn't mean it can't still be transparent.
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Bob's Opinion
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06/01/2016
As long as an unrelated "poison pill" item is not added to a bill, it makes sense to combine related items.
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What is Senate Bill S. 1572?

This bill would require each bill or joint resolution introduced in Congress to embrace only one subject, and that subject must be descriptively expressed in the legislation’s title.

Appropriations bills would be prohibited from containing any general legislation or including any change of existing law requirements if the subject of a provision isn’t germane to the appropriation bill’s subject.

Legislation that meets the following criteria would be declared void:

  • An entire Act or joint resolution if its title addresses two or more unrelated subjects;

  • Provisions in legislation not clearly and descriptively expressed in the measure’s title;

  • Appropriation provisions in legislation outside the relevant subcommittee’s jurisdiction;

  • Provisions of appropriation bills not germane to their subject matter.

Aggrieved persons and members of Congress would have the right to sue the U.S. to seek relief, including an injunction, against the enforcement of a law passed in a manner that didn’t conform with the one subject requirement.

Impact

The American public; Congressional staffers; and members of Congress.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1572

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced this bill to increase transparency in the lawmaking process by requiring that Congress only address one subject in a given piece of legislation:

“Too often in Congress, legislation is pushed through without hearings, amendments, or debate. I firmly believe the American people have a right to be part of the legislative process. My bills will allow citizens sufficient time to read and to give input to members of Congress as they consider legislation impacting the lives of all Americans. I will continue to stand by my pledge to increase transparency and accessibility in the U.S. Senate.”


Of Note: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 41 states have provisions within their state constitutions that require bills in their legislature to only deal with a single subject. There are also 15 states that require initiatives to only cover a single subject to receive a spot on the ballot.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Circa Sassy)

AKA

One Subject at a Time Act

Official Title

A bill to end the practice of including more than one subject in a single bill by requiring that each bill enacted by Congress be limited to only one subject, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Rules and Administration
    IntroducedJune 15th, 2015
    Absolutely! Drilling in the Arctic that 90% of the population is against was finally successfully approved in a bill that had nothing to do with oil, drilling or the Arctic! These back door attachments are how crooked legislation the people are against gets pushed through. It needs to stop!
    Like (119)
    Follow
    Share
    There could be certain cases in which multiple issues should be resolved with a single bill. This increases the government's power and efficiency in creating legislation.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    There have been too many piggy-back laws that have passed that negatively affect the public and are forced in through necessary bills that have to be passed so the country can continue running
    Like (57)
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    Share
    Each bill should be separate and have an expiration date attached if applicable. No more funding of old outdated bills just so old decrepit congressman can feel needed.
    Like (48)
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    It removes unnecessary barriers, as well as removes the ability to add subjects onto a bill in order to force its passage.
    Like (23)
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    No more piggyback, gotcha bills, please!
    Like (17)
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    Addressing multiple issues is a waste of time, money, and is deceptive to those in the public who don't have time to read all of a bill.
    Like (12)
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    Having riders attached to bills creates more gridlock in congress and allows politicians to hold bills hostage for their personal agendas.
    Like (11)
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    They should be in session 50 weeks per year.
    Like (11)
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    We've already seen Congress vote to pass bills they didn't even read because they were too big. That needs to never happen again.
    Like (10)
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    YES! And for those folks that feel that "compromise" is needed, remember that the word compromise is politician speak for, "small unmarked bills" or "make a donation to the Clinton Foundation".
    Like (10)
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    Congress needs to do this for the sake of transparency! It's utterly DEPLORABLE how Congressmen are allowed to use a bill of hundreds of pages (for example) to sneak in a pet agenda! EXAMPLE: Right-thinking Americans will be relieved to know that conservatives in the House joined the Democrat minority to kill the entire Water and Energy appropriations bill rather than allow it to pass with Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney’s transgender amendment attached to it. http://conservativeamerica-online.com/the-list-the-43-house-republicans-who-voted-for-the-transgender-agenda/ In answer to the critics of this bill who say that Congress only has a finite amount of time to address the many pressing issues that they must consider, I have only this to say: Quit sponsoring bills that deal with nonsensical issues like "Should magic be made a national treasure?" I don't think that Congress wastes as much time as they do money. However, I DO think that they waste too much time on things of less urgency, instead of prioritizing bills, so that things like magic can be taken up AFTER they've dealt with more urgent matters. (Of course, it is entirely possible that what I think is an urgent matter may not be the same as what someone else thinks is an urgent matter. That doesn't make them automatically right and me wrong - or vice versa!)
    Like (7)
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    Not enough time in the day for all of that legislation. You must combine some but that doesn't mean it can't still be transparent.
    Like (6)
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    This is how corruption works all we have to do is stop allowing it
    Like (5)
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    Transparency folks!
    Like (5)
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    A bill regarding multiple issues leads to lawmakers not being able to do what is best for their district. laws should be made one at a time, not multiples at the same time
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    Then even congress might be able to read them
    Like (3)
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    This is an obvious answer. Why bills have included multiple subject matter is only used for one thing. Hidden policies. Too much of congress (not everyone of course) takes too much time off a year to complain about time saving.
    Like (3)
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    Filibusters have been ruining good policies and sugar-coating bad policies for a long time now. Having a single issue per bill would basically prevent these "harmless" addendum a from cropping up in future.
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    Members of congress shouldn't have to weigh unrelated issues against each other. So many riders that shouldn't have passed have become law because they were attached to important, unrelated issues.
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