I just read a satisfying editorial column by Dr. Ron McNinch in today's Marianas Variety. Roughly two weeks after my criticism of the criticism of the Guam Legislature, which included reference to Dr. McNinch's claim that the 31st Guam Legislature had passed too many bills, he has possibly responded. As I pointed out, the idea that the Legislature has passed too many bills is problematic unless (1) bills are inherently bad or (2) that there is a problem with the quality of the bills.
I somewhat agree about the quality of bills introduced and passed by the Guam Legislature. Some bills do little more than rename things, some reorganize the language of a statute without affecting the content and some of the bills just reinvent the wheel (seek to accomplish what has already been done by another law). These are are bills which waste the ink and paper which is used to produce them, but they do not generally do much harm to society. My bigger issue with legislation is when there is a failure to address real problems that people face. There is meaningful legislation out there, although some of it is written in direct response to a crisis and, consequently, may produce extra problems or complications in the future because of a failure to address issues that will come up because of the nature of the solution.
A lot of crisis legislation or other bills that address serious issues include mandates for rules and regulations to be made by agencies, subject to the Administrative Adjudication Law, but many of these rules remain unwritten years or even decades from the law's enactment. It is hard to say whether to place the blame for this on the legislature, which has no power to ensure that rules are written, except their ability to write the rules themselves, or the executive branch for not making the rules.
And I might add that most bills that become a law do so because the Governor has assented to them, by signing them or allowing them to lapse into law. There are very few bills in any year that are enacted by a legislative override, so where there is a failure of the legislative branch in passing bad bills, there is culpability for the executive branch for enacting them.
I am thankful that Dr. McNinch clarified his earlier criticism of the legislature passing too many bills and intimating that he intends to specify "the good, the bad and ugly" bills after the election.