23 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2014 Last revised: 14 Nov 2014
Date Written: 2013
Congress often enacts statutes that only apply to a specific place. This essay identifies the instances in which site-specific legislation is appropriate. It recounts the uses of such legislation, the theoretical debate surrounding it, and the circumstances in which it is desirable. Site-specific legislation plays an important role in enabling Congress to prescribe its preferred policy even when agreement on broader legislation. My suggestion, therefore, is that general legislation should remain the default for congressional action, but site-specific legislation is appropriate when (a) there are convincing reasons for adopting special rules for a particular place, (b) there is no agreement for the establishment of a new general rule, and (c) the legislation is enacted through transparent procedures.
Keywords: Congress, legislation, local conditions, polarization, appropriations riders, precedent, St. Croix River, National Park Service, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge
JEL Classification: K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation