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Land O Links

* The complaint that lawmakers don’t even read all the bills that pass over their desks is as hoary as it is true. Well, the Tennessee House of Representatives has taken action to perhaps ease the problem.

No member can file more than 15 bills.

“Figures compiled by Harwell's office show that the 132-member Tennessee General Assembly had the second-highest average of filed bills among 13 Southern states over the last eight years. The 4,682 bills filed per session average was exceeded only by Mississippi, which had 5,958 bills but 174 lawmakers.”

The handy site, maintained by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said, as of March 14, that 716 bills – and another 74 state amendments – had been introduced this year.

In the 2011-12 legislative session, the official state site says 2,095 pieces were filed in the House and 1,387 in the Senate, for a total of 3,482. Divide by 148 members of the Legislature and my fingers and toes say that’s an average of 23.5 items per member.

To be sure, some bills are filed and never heard of again. Still, isn’t it possible that some limitations on filing might make legislators more selective in the issues they push and therefore increase deliberation and the quality of work?

Just askin’.

* Detroit gets an “F” grade for “checkbook-level” financial transparency in a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. The study, released in January, gave the city a 46 – the third-worst score among America’s 30 largest cities.

By contrast, Chicago and New York City earned A’s with scores of 98.

* The first two vendor tenants are signed up for Grand Rapids’ 138,000-square-foot Downtown Market.

* Sure, we all complain about the condition of Michigan roads and the skill sets of our fellow drivers, but as this map shows, there’s one thing to celebrate about Michigan’s byways: You are far less likely to die on them than on those in Montana, or South Carolina or Arizona.

* Less than 1 percent of the federal budget goes to scientific research. And the sequester is going to do major harm to even that effort, say the heads of three national laboratories.


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