Why can't regular citizens play a bigger role in writing legislation (and laws) without going through lobbyists & advocacy organizations?
I'm also a huge fan of the NDFA model of having the decision-making process of organization be driven by people who attend at least three meetings per year and do three volunteer activities.
What if there was a citizen think-tank that worked like NDFA?
There would be an agreement between members of the organization and members of the legislative body that would exchange:
- Members of the organization would work on the re-election campaigns of the incumbents
- The legislators would sponsor bills/ordinances that members of the group thought were good ideas
A member of the think tank has an idea on Issue X than s/he considers good public policy. S/he writes it and makes a presentation to the members of the think tank. If the idea is among the most popular, the think tank approves it and sends it to the legislators.
One of the legislators in the body (who was part of the agreement) would take lead. The other legislators who were part of the agreement would be expected to support the proposals emerging from the process. If they don't the think tank can withhold support at election time.
One reason this might be appealing to legislators is that they generally don't have enough staff to write bills. They often depend on the committee staff to write legislation. This means that it's hard to initiate legislation that doesn't have support of committee/part leadership.