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Walters: Semi-Secret ‘Trailer Bills’ Pop Up

Conceptually, writing legislation to implement the annual state budget makes perfect sense. In practice, so-called “trailer bills” have become vehicles to semi-secretly do things that might otherwise be difficult to do, often with little or no relationship to the budget. They are drafted behind closed doors and quickly enacted with...

Walters: How Budget 'Trailer Bills' Are Misused

In the jargon of the Capitol, “trailer bills” are measures that accompany the annual state budget – in theory making the changes of law necessary to implement the budget’s fiscal policies. In practice, they serve another, much different function – to sneakily do things that might otherwise be difficult to...

Walters: Politicians Like to Keep Us in the Dark

Every year, governors and state legislators load up bills that supposedly implement the state budget with all sorts of extracurricular provisions benefiting those to whom they owe favors. They use these “trailer bills” because they can be, and often have been, passed very quickly after being drafted, thereby concealing their...