(BOSTON)—With National Sunshine Week (March 13-19) upon us, the folks at MassFiscal are offering a quartet of tips for legislators bent on ratching up their failing grade on transparency. Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.
Do your homework.
Be prepared to make decisions. Sure, sending a bill off to a study committee rings of cautious responsibility, but “study committee” is another way of saying “legislative cemetery.” A vote moving a bill for further study should require a 2/3 vote.
Show your work.
Technology has made broadcasting public meetings easy and inexpensive. Legislation effects so many people outside the walls of the Statehouse. Open up those meetings so everyone can better understand the problems and solutions you’re working on.
Play by the rules.
The public records reform bill passed by the House in the fall is important, and it’s important the Legislature lives by the rules it makes. No exemption.
Stand up for what you believe in.
If the committees in the U.S. Congress make their votes public and readily available, so should our own state’s joint committees. Not all votes in the legislature are available to the public, specifically votes in the joint committee. Lawmakers should have the will to stand by all their votes and share them with the public.
“These simple tactics for achieving quality work aren’t revolutionary. Sunshine Week, a nationally celebrated time for focusing on transparency in government and lawmaking, is a great time to revisit them,” said Paul Craney, executive director of MassFiscal. “I urge the legislature to focus on these four principles, and help bring more sunshine into the dark corners of state government.”
Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance advocates for fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability in state government and increased economic opportunity for the people of our Commonwealth.
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