Washington Law Review


Probably a careful attempt to evaluate legislative activity should take into consideration the opportunities for enacting bad laws which were avoided and the opportunities for enacting good laws which were passed by. A comparative analysis of what the legislature has refused to do as well as what it has done might better reflect the operation of political democracy at work than a bare survey of the "end products", so to speak, as reflected in the paper and ink additions to the body of existing law. In the instance of the twenty-sixth session of the Washington Legislature, the latter consist of only two hundred and twenty-five new statutes, the governor having relieved the people of six, out of a total of around one thousand and seventy-five bills introduced into both houses. Considering a limited session of sixty days, the product numerically may fairly be taken as representing much labor in sifting and trading, if not in debate or scientific examination of all the proposals. A mere glance at the figures serves to emphasize the suggestion commonly made that government by legislation is carried on in camera, at least in committee, rather than in open session on the floor of the houses and by open debate.

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