San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Legislature passed laws, but to what effect?

The Legislative Assembly approved 105 laws in the past year, starting with the first session that began on May 1, 2009 and the final session which ended last weekend. The assembly had not approved this many laws in eight years. In 2001-02, the assembly authorized 176 new laws.

“I feel very pleased with the Legislative Assembly during this last year,” said Jorge Méndez, the National Liberation Party´s head legislator. “It has been one of the most productive of the last decade, not just as a result of the quantity of the approved laws, but through the quality of the laws.”

Only six times since 1986 has the Legislative Assembly approved more than 100 laws in the yearlong sessions. Still, political analyst Agustín Castro emphasized that the number of laws approved does not reflect the effectiveness of the assembly (TT, April 16).

“We make laws, and we don´t enforce them,” said Castro. “But people measure the success of the government by how many laws are approved. This clogs the system, making it even slower.”

Castro said it´s long been a problem of the legislature that it approves laws without examining how effective the law will be.

Among the laws approved during the last four years were bills on immigration, elections, trade, homeland security, agriculture, the environment and public investment.

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