The Death of the Legislature

At the time of this writing, 49 US States have some sort of COVID restrictions and/or mask mandates. South Dakota remains the only US State with no such restrictions, according to Masks4All.com. On Thursday afternoon, Governor Sununu mandated that all non-exempt persons in New Hampshire must wear masks when unable to socially distance. Perhaps as nefarious as the anti-liberty, unscientific, economy-crushing mandates is the process by which they were created. 

To our knowledge, the various COVID restrictions found throughout the 49 US States all came about via borderline illegal executive orders by the governors; not a single State legislature passed a single bill. Anyone who knows basic civics understands that executives (Governors, Presidents, etc.) have certain powers that they could exercise in true emergencies in which waiting for the legislature to meet and pass a bill would lead to catastrophe (such as a missile from a foreign enemy being in the air and orders to stop the missile must be made within a few seconds). Of course, the Coronavirus was hardly an emergency of that magnitude to begin with. It was not a missile or bomb that was going to land in a matter of seconds, and it was not going to be over in a few minutes. The virus is here to stay for a few months – or years! 

Nh House - FB Gary Hopper
image courtesy of Rep. Gary Hopper

Even if we assume that the initial lockdowns and mask mandates last winter were emergent and could not have waited for legislatures to convene, there is simply no justification for continuing to rule over the people by Executive Order a year later. This is especially true in an age when legislators could easily meet and conduct their business by phone, internet, email, or video conference. They can meet in large enough venues to remain socially distant from one another. In fact, the New Hampshire House of Representatives – the largest state legislative chamber in the US – has had sessions in such venues. Yet, this chamber and all other chambers have neglected to pass any bills regarding COVID restrictions for the past 12 months. Further, they have weakly turned a blind eye and allowed their governors to act as dictators and rule over the people they were elected to represent. As far as this author is concerned, every legislature in the US has rendered themselves impotent. In fact, we should consider eliminating them entirely. 

Are Republicans any better?

Not really. Other than Kristi Noem of South Dakota, every US Governor has violated their citizens like the tyrants they are. This includes the 22 States in which l Executive Orders were enacted by Republican governors, with no real opposition from Republican legislatures

So, my solution is a simple one: Eliminate legislatures. 

For years, elected legislators throughout the US have proven that they are spineless and increasingly content to allow their governors to abuse their constituents. 

The benefits of eliminating these useless and antiquated political institutions are numerous: 

  1. Taxpayers could save billions of dollars per year once they no longer have to pay for the salaries, benefits, stipends, vehicles, offices, staff, and everything else involved in funding their States’ House and Senate members. 
  2. Voters would no longer be tricked by the ‘false sense of representation’ into believing that voting for state legislators makes a difference. They could instead focus all of their time on determining who to vote for in the election for Governor (and other offices that are meaningful). 
  3. Considering that legislators have abandoned their duties (which is to legislate – hence the name ‘legislator’), changing the legislative process to a strictly voter-based system may be a substantial improvement. If each voter could cast one vote on every single bill, we may have a much less corrupt, more fair, more representative form of government. 

If State legislators wish to not go extinct and be buried in the graveyard of governmental mistakes, they must change their ways. And quickly. Individuals throughout the US are growing impatient, tired of being abused, and are passionate about their long-violated freedoms. While abolishing the entire legislature would likely involve the difficult task of amending the State constitution, I would not rule it out entirely. Remember, this is 2020. Much crazier things have happened.  

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