Drafting Legislation

The ugly back and forth on the power of special interests that has shaped the U.S. Senate primary contest [in Colorado] pitting Andrew Romanoff against Michael Bennet has so far turned mostly on abstractions and circumstantial speculations. Former state House Speaker Romanoff has railed against big money donors and highlighted Bennet votes he thought raised questions about influence. Senator Bennet has fired back that
Legislative Drafters Deskbook by Tobias Dorseyalthough candidate Romanoff takes no special interest money, lawmaker Romanoff was deep into the trough. Romanoff has rejected political action committee money. Bennet has said PAC spending is a matter of public record and so is not the problem Romanoff is making it out to be.

But, in attempting to shape or pass legislation, special interests do more than give cash. Special interest lobbyists and attorneys often write the legislation itself. And on that matter Bennet and Romanoff hold different positions.

Bennet, Romanoff differ on role lobbyists should play in drafting bills: Are lobbyist bill-writers a potential menace or a valuable resource? by Joseph Boven, The Colorado Independent, July 31, 2010

Most state legislatures have an office that provides drafting services to state legislators, similar to Colorado’s Office of Legislative Legal Services (OLLS). And no bill, regardless of whether it is in a state legislature or in Washington, is enacted into law without scrutiny by many other people, including lobbyists, and legislators and their staff. To suggest otherwise is to suggest the no one reads a proposed bill other than the legislator introducing the bill….

Legislative Drafter’s Deskbook: A Practical Guide, by Tobias A. Dorsey

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