Bring real transparency to state lawmaking

Here are a few truths to hold onto in an election year: People should know what their government is doing. And that their government actually belongs to them. And that the best way to stay informed about what our government is doing is through public records and from public meetings.

In November, voters may get to weigh in on a ballot measure that would spread sunshine into the state Legislature. The measure is called the California Legislature Transparency Act, which would require that all bills be in print in their final form, and available to the public on the Internet, for a minimum of 72 hours before a vote can be taken.

Too often in our state, significant matters get rammed through the Legislature in the final days or hours of a session through the “gut-and-amend” process, in which bills are stripped of their original language and transformed into measures that deal with far more controversial and complex topics. The revised bills are crafted behind closed doors with the aid of lobbyists and are approved even though few legislators have read the fine print.

Real transparency is vital to a functioning democracy. The California Legislature Transparency Act would put a stop to legislation rushed through without public notice, and hold lawmakers accountable for serving the people who elect them.


Read the entire editorial on the Monterey Herald’s website HERE.