On his website, state Rep. Tim Freeman (R-Roseburg) says "reducing state spending and improving government efficiency and accountability" are top priorities.

Noble goals as the 2011 Legislature hunts for every last dollar to provide money for schools, social services and corrections.

So the Rogue Desk finds it a notable waste of effort and money that Freeman has squandered legislative staff time on House Concurrent Resolution 14, which would adopt the "Code of West as model of conduct in State of Oregon.” 

He has company in this frivolity.

The resolution's co-sponsors are Reps. Kevin Cameron (R-Salem), Margaret Doherty (D-Tigard), Andy Olson (R-Albany), Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), Matt Wand (R-Troutdale) Jim Weidner (R-Yamhill), Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver), Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville) and Sen. Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg).

The average measure costs about $1,000 to prepare, according to Legislative Counsel. One Salem insider pegged the preparation cost of Freeman's one-page measure at about $400. HCR 14 is scheduled for a March 21 hearing in the House Rules Committee.

Of course, the wasted money is a pittance in the context of a $16 billion general fund budget. And many bills introduced during the 2011 Legislature are misguided. But each of this resolution's co-sponsors has mouthed some version of the “efficiency and accountability”  claim that Freeman touts on his website.

And using state resources to convert the "Ten Principles to Live By" compiled by James P. Owen, author of the book Cowboy Ethics, into a Code of the West resolution is especially ridiculous since it violates at least three of the book's principles. No. 4: "Do what has to be done." No. 6: "When you make a promise, keep it." And No. 8: "Talk less, say more."

Freeman says he got the idea when House members worked out rules to govern the historic 30-30 partisan split.

"The idea is to raise the public's opinion of the Legislature," Freeman says. "I find it hard to believe it cost $400 to prepare it, but I think spending $400 out of  a $60 billion [all fund] budget is worth it to affect public perception.”

But when considering the expenditure of state dollars, proponents of such frivolous measures should keep in mind the final principle in the Code: "Know where to draw the line.” 

Got a Rogue nomination? Send it to hstern@wweek.com.