Regarding the Sept. 2 Point of View “The case for a full-time legislature”: David E. McLennan was correct that a full-time legislature would increase the size and diversity of the pool of candidates who wish to run for the office, but I doubt it would generate the kind of thorough and deliberative policy process he desires.
This can be achieved only by internal procedural reforms that decentralize power and make proceedings transparent.
Establishing a committee system with meaningful autonomy would be a good place to start. Committees should have jurisdictions that are stable across sessions. This would also incentivize policy specialization. Perhaps the majority caucuses could elect chairs for fixed and reasonably lengthy terms.
It might also help if both chambers were forced to publish a full verbatim record of floor debate and rank-and-file members were guaranteed robust rights to offer amendments.
Andrew J. Taylor
Professor of political science, School of Public and International Affairs, N.C. State University