Who Really Writes Our Laws?

If your answer is that our legislators write our laws, you are incorrect. The term Legislator implies that they write our laws. That was the case early in the history of our country.

Those who have studied how the earliest laws of our country were written know the process was often lengthy and contentious. Discussions became arguments. Duels resulted; Aaron Burr fought a duel with James Madison and killed him. The legislators of that time took their responsibility very seriously.

How things have changed. Recently a second massive Pandemic Relief Act, 1.4 TRILLION dollar omnibus spending bill was placed in the hands of our legislators. It was not actually placed in their hands because none of them could carry it, much less read it. It soon became apparent that most of the money would be spent on things not related to the pandemic; much of it going to foreign countries. Our legislators didn’t write it and are not the ones who will pay the tab. Taxpayers (including those yet to be born) will have to pay it or eventually default on payment.

This same approach is used at the state level to draft legislation. I offer this from my home state of North Carolina; our lobbying directory. (Your state should have one of these directories.)


North Carolina has 617 registered lobbyists that rely on 885 clients who pay them. These lobbyists are the established liaison with 73 North Carolina government departments. Beyond those officially registered there are untold and unaccountable major donors who do what they can to influence the legislators.

Might lobbyists be writing or excessively influencing the creation and final version of our laws? Yes, of course. So, just how much do our phone calls or letters to our legislators influence their vote? Keep writing and calling but have realistic and limited expectations as to their impact on our office holders. 

Personal Note: I think of myself as concerned but not cynical. Not yet at least, but close.

About authorbillramsey

During his forty-year professional career, Bill Ramsey wrote magazine articles and business newsletters. Now retired in the mountains of western North Carolina, he writes a blog and has published four books. Bill's 2015 collection of concise, real-life essays is titled "What Do YOU Think?" He has also written "Me Now - Who Next? (The Inspiring Story of a Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery)" and "Now That I Think About It. Bill's books and are available from Amazon.com and on all e-readers. See www.authorbillramsey.com. Follow Bill on Facebook at www.facebook.com/billramseyauthor/
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4 Responses to Who Really Writes Our Laws?

  1. Simpson Russell says:

    Bill, I just read your piece on who writes our laws. It helped me to understand how this works the first time I went it Washington with a small group of Tennessee bankers. Whadda country we live in! Anyway, on this very subject, we watched a terrific movie a couple of nights ago called, “Miss Sloan”. I highly recommend it to both you and Donna. I believe it’s on Netflix. We got our second shot a couple of weeks ago. Moderna. I feel a little better now about exposure and we plan to have Wendy’s girls here for spring break on March 22nd. Stay healthy. We want to see you this year for sure. Simp

    On Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 6:43 AM Bill Ramsey’s Blog wrote:

    > authorbillramsey posted: ” If your answer is that our legislators write > our laws, you are incorrect. The term Legislator implies that they write > our laws. That was the case early in the history of our country. Those who > have studied how the earliest laws of our country were wri” >


    • Simp, Glad to hear you have completed the vaccine shots. Wonderful to get the girls there.
      On the subject Who Actually Writes our Laws? My reason for writing on this is simple. Too many people have no idea how the system works. We have far too many laws and regulations (which function as laws). We have far too many governments writing laws. Even counties play in this sandbox.
      We see the result. Laws collide with other laws. Existing laws and brand new laws do not square. Lawsuits result and attorneys get rich.
      It becomes difficult for the average person to stay on the right side of all these laws. Result? We are all law breakers w/o knowing it. Frustrated Bill


  2. I have become cynical, I’m afraid. After years of writing letters to presidents, senators, and congressmen, I realize that most of what I write falls on deaf ears. The only contributions welcomed by most legislators are those of a monetary nature. We have killed the “golden goose.” Each day we watch the further unraveling of what was once the envy of the world, our democratic republic. It is but a shadow of what it once was, serving primarily the large corporations and large donors. We’ve both got both our shots, and look forward to a politically devoid future . . . well, almost . . . at least for a while. You know me, Bill. 🙂


    • Joe, We have tried for so long to preserve our democratic republic only to see it slipping away. I completely share you point of view. Most (not all) who have lived as long as we have would share our point of view. The question becomes, do we keep up the fight or retire from it? With so little time left in our productive lives, the temptation to retire is compelling.


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