We hear all the time about the Congress and how the two houses are dysfunctional……there is an answer to this chaos……
I wrote many years ago that I thought that my state should go to a unicameral system of representation…..it would save money and loosen up the legislative process from the standstill it suffers from every session.
As distinct from bicameral or even tricameral legislatures, unicameral legislatures meet and vote in a single chamber. The traditional justification of unicameralism is that it is cheaper, more efficient, and more responsive than bicameralism. The appeal of a single-chamber legislature increases in periods of legislative gridlock, making unicameralism a relevant alternative to bicameral representation, which excels at representing different social classes or geographic areas. Below, the fit between unicameral representation and responsive government is explored, first, by assessing the use of unicameralism in 2016, and then by outlining the basic merits and demerits of unicameral legislatures. The Anglo-American tradition of unicameralism is then surveyed. The discussion concludes with a brief overview of Nebraska’s single-chamber legislature.
For the lazy……
My regulars know that I am history buff and that I try to educate my visitors on this country as well as other subjects….and in the beginning during the fight for the Constitution that were people that did not agree with Madison on the need for a bicameral system of representation.
James Madison famously wrote in Federalist 51 that “A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.” Madison discussed the separation of powers between executive, legislative, and judicial branches, the additional division of the legislative branch into two chambers, and how their design can create a political invisible hand by which “the private interest of every individual may be a centinel over the public rights.”
I don’t know whether Madison employed the word “centinel” in this sentence to jab at the Antifederalist writer Centinel, who several months before lambasted the idea that separation-of-power systems can be designed to generate public virtue from the interaction of self-interested politicians. Perhaps. Contrary to Madison’s argument, however, for Centinel, only engaged and attentive citizens can keep politicians in line, not institutional designs that ostensibly create self-enforcing constitutional systems. There is no invisible hand for Centinel, at least not in politics.
In my case the attempt that I tried to have a bill on the change from bicameral to unicameral was a non-starter…..I never thought I would be successful but at least I was hoping for some discussion…the “good old boys” shot me down and shot me down hard.
I still believe my state and the country would be better off with a unicameral system….