In many states, there are mechanisms in place that enable unelected bureaucrats the power to render a good bill DOA simply by claiming it would cost too much money. These mechanisms in the form of fiscal review committees can often prevent important legislation from passing due to individuals whom the public cannot directly influence.

A new bill introduced by Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin to the Tennessee state Legislature intends to rectify this situation in the Volunteer State, where an effort by Sen. Mae Beavers to opt the state out of Obamacare was reported by the Fiscal Review Committee to possibly cost the state $32.9 billion, more the entire state budget for 2014-2015.

The bill, not surprisingly, did not go anywhere.

While not removing the committee itself, HB 7 would curtail its powers significantly by allowing any member of the legislature to request the “all supporting documentation used in determining the fiscal effect of the bill, resolution, or amendment be made available for review, including the date and time the documentation was submitted to the fiscal review committee.” It would also give them the power to request the executive director of the fiscal review committee to be present at any meeting in order to provide an “explanation of a fiscal note or memorandum issued on a bill, resolution, or amendment.”

Undoubtedly, this would put an end to the abuses inherent in such a system wherein unelected officials can slap a price tag, no matter how inaccurate it may be, to a bill in order to ensure its defeat.

Although our primary focus at the TAC is on state legislation designed to take back unconstitutional powers from the feds, often there are obstacles at the state level that must be dealt with first before any bills can be passed.

In Tennessee, HB7 is one of them. If there is such a committee in your state legislature, it needs to be reined in, as well.

TJ Martinell

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