If you’re a baseball fan you know that any player with a batting average of .333 is considered a great success at the plate. Even though he’s only getting a hit in one out of every three at-bats, when the level of difficulty and other players’ averages are taken into account, that’s pretty darn good … in baseball.

In my first spring session in the Illinois House, I have learned that under the rules and procedures Speaker Madigan has put in place, if even a few of the bills you have introduced receive a hearing in a House committee, you’re batting well above average.

This spring, 4,226 bills were filed by Representatives in the Illinois House.

For each of those bills, here’s how the process should work:

1) A constituent brings an idea for legislation to his or her Representative.

2) The Representative works with staff and the Legislative Reference Bureau to transform the idea into a written bill.

3) The bill is filed in the House, and is sent to the House Rules Committee, which then assigns it to the appropriate committee for an initial hearing.

4) The bill is presented in a House committee and receives a vote.

5) If approved by committee, the bill advances to the floor for consideration by the full House.

6) The bill is debated on the House floor and receives a vote by the full chamber.

7) If approved by the full House, the bill advances to the Senate for further consideration.

Under Speaker Madigan’s rules, however, here’s how the process actually worked this spring for 3,453 of the 4,226 bills introduced by House members:

1) A constituent brings an idea for legislation to his or her Representative.

2) The Representative works with staff and the Legislative Reference Bureau to transform the idea into a written bill.

3) The bill is filed in the House, and is sent to the House Rules Committee, which blocks it from all consideration by House members.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Of the 4,226 ideas introduced by legislators in the House this spring, only 773 even received an initial hearing in a House committee. The rest were immediately killed by Speaker Madigan’s majority members on the five-member Rules Committee.

Think about that; thousands of ideas and opportunities squandered every year on the order of one powerful politician.

This spring I personally sponsored 15 bills in the House. Of those, four are on their way to the Governor’s desk and will hopefully be signed into law. I was able to pass one additional bill through the House that stalled in the Senate, but may be revived next spring. The remaining 10 bills were immediately killed in Speaker Madigan’s Rules Committee.

I have been told that passing four bills as a freshman member of the minority party is a very good record for my first session. Under Speaker Madigan’s rules I’m sure that’s true, but I keep thinking that it shouldn’t be.

Every piece of legislation introduced is important to someone. Not all should become state law, but each one deserves to be heard.