(photo credit: NOAM MOSKOVICH)
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked came out against what she characterized as an excessive amount of laws passed each year, making life more difficult and less free for all Israelis, in a speech to the Bar Association on Tuesday.
Regulation has reached “dangerous levels,” Shaked said, describing every new law that is passed as “a vote against our liberty.”
“The freedom each and every one of us enjoys is deeply harmed by the competition between MKs over who can pass the most laws, and the inordinate intervention in our lives,” she argued.
“Healthy competition in the market is being replaced by harmful competition between MKs and ministers.”
The free market, Shaked said, is collapsing under a heavy regulatory burden.
“Freedom to do business is the oxygen of our manufacturing sector. Over-regulation is smothering it,” she stated.
In the 15 months since the last government was formed, MKs and ministers have proposed over 1,500 bills; in the last decade, over 12,000 private member bills were proposed. The third Knesset, elected in 1955 and lasting over four years, passed 13 laws; the 18th Knesset, elected in 2009 and lasting four years, passed over 500 laws, a 4000 percent increase.
“That is a scary and disconcerting growth,” Shaked lamented, calling the competition between MKs to pass laws a “race to the bottom.”
Shaked said she is proud that the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, under her leadership, blocked 1,100 bills.
“I see the Ministerial Committee for Legislation as the faithful gatekeeper... that understands there is no need for a flood of unnecessary laws. There is a need for good legislation. The rest is harmful background noise,” she stated.
The Justice Minister said she sees bills proposed to limit the free market and individual freedoms from all sides of the political spectrum.
MKs proposing large numbers of bills “care less about accuracy; they care about headlines. The cost of freedom is less important. They want to achieve a goal and ignore the larger picture, and the media contributes to this by crowning the champion legislator or the most ‘social’ MK,” she added.
As part of her efforts to curb over-regulation, Shaked decided that any bill that increases the punishment for an offense must go through the Justice Ministry’s research department, just like any budget-related bill must go through the Finance Ministry.
The instruction will go into effect at the end of October, when the Knesset winter session begins, she said.
“We can’t allow a situation in which new rules taking away people’s freedoms are made without checking whether such a drastic step is necessary, whether there is another way, what the consequences are, and what are our alternatives,” she said.
Shaked called to bring the legislature back into balance, saying lawmakers and ministries must “remove their foot from the gas,” because the Ministerial Committee for Legislation plans to “powerfully step on the brakes.”