Were there fewer bills in the 1997 legislature than in 1996? Yes, but no thanks to the House Republicans. The House and Senate Dems and the Senate Repubs did introduce fewer bills.
To get an accurate picture one has to eliminate the appropriation and supplemental appropriation measures. Those switch back between House and Senate each year and create an artificial high. Leaving those aside we find the following good news:
24 House Dems
41 House Reps
Total: 355 in 1997. 356 in 1996
Senate Dems, 15 in 1997, 16 in 1996
Senate Reps, 20 in 1997, 19 in 1996
Total:214 in 1997. 233 in 1996/
Leaving out appropriation bills and bills recalled by sponsors before action, the 1997 total of 569 measures is the same as the 1994 totals. Other numbers the past five years were 1993: 593 bills. 1995: 572 bills. 1996: 589 bills.
So we ended the year with 20 fewer non-appropriation bills, but with a much heavier total of bills introduced after the deadline, known as "late bills". Again, the biggest culprit were the 41 House Republicans, who definitely did not believe in sharing late bills status with the 24 Democrats.
Copyright 2015 Jerry Kopel & David Kopel