Monday, March 7, 2011

Transparency in government

This session of the state legislature was supposed to be about greater transparency in government. From the election of the new Speaker, to the process of letting bills come to the House and Senate floors for debate. But on Friday the idea of a transparent government was ignored with the passage of H.B. 477, Government Records Amendment, which greatly narrows the path of citizens to gain access to public records, through GRAMA, Government Records Access Management Act. The irony is that this bill was not released until the very end of the session, leaving very little opportunity for the public to weigh in. It only took 48 hours to get H.B. 477 introduced, passed out of committee with a favorable recommendation, heard in both houses, and prepared for the signature of the Governor. This just goes to show that if our lawmakers really want to get something done, they can. It’s sad to see our legislators ignore democracy and reverse years of progress toward a more reliable, honest, transparent government. Let hope our Governor is willing to take a stand and veto this undemocratic legislation. 

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