The idea is back. The requirement that a bill be in print and online for 72 hours before final passage is moving forward in the legislature.

This was part of legislation, and a ballot initiative, thwarted last year. And it’s a good idea. People ought to know what they’re voting on. But there’s one big flaw in the idea.

You can give legislators and the public the time to read the bill and figure out what’s in it. But you can’t make them read it.

Or can you?

The same day I spotted an LA Times story about Republican legislative support for this idea, I came across a New York Times story about online university classes. Specifically, the story discussed how some online tools can tell professors whether students did the reading. Or at least whether they went through all the pages of the reading posted online.

The application of this tool to legislation is obvious. A three-day waiting period only really makes sense if you can guarantee that people will read the bill.

The amendment almost writes itself. Require that the online posting of the bill use this tool, and let the public monitor whether legislators have actually read the bills upon which they are voting.

One probably wouldn’t want to go so far as requiring lawmakers to have read the bills before they are allowed to vote upon. But maybe some people would go so far.

And would the lawmakers dare complain? Would the governor? This is the legislature that is aggressively pushing online education after all on the state’s university systems.

What’s good for the goose is good for, well, you know.