Yesterday a lobbyist stopped me and asked what my objection was to a certain piece of legislation. I explained my position. He then told me the bill had been substituted and he thought I would like it a lot better now. “It’s not as bad as before”, he told me.
This exchange got me thinking.
At this point in the session there is danger in becoming proverbial boiled frogs. We would have jumped out if initially placed in this boiling pot, but instead the water has been heating slowly. Legislators’ original bills that we found repugnant, are beginning to be tempered down: they amend, they substitute, they cajole. But the reality is, if the bill we are all now backing because it is “not as bad as before” had been the original bill – we would have all opposed it.
I have worked with legislators in drafting legislation, and part of the conversation is always: what is the end goal and where would you be willing to give. Those initial compromises are never placed in the original draft. They are left out so they may be offered as olive branches later. Then the appearance of compromise exists though the end game is still achieved.
As the session ramps up and as bills adapt and change – don’t become a boiled frog.
A bad bill is a bad bill, even if it is not as bad as before.