Lawmakers can prove they support transparency

Any red-blooded, flag-waving politician would declare that the public has a right to know how government works and that transparency is vital to a functioning democracy.

But one of the promising proposals is the California Legislature Transparency Act, a nine-page open government initiative offered by Republican campaign financier Charles T. Munger Jr., and former Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, a Central Coast Republican. It’s controversial in some quarters, but it shouldn’t be.

The initiative would require that all bills be published and publicly available for at least 72 hours before they are voted upon, the better to prevent late-night, end-of-session power plays that leave all but a few insiders in the dark. Though they voice support for the notion, legislators haven’t quite been able to stick to the 72-hour notice. Perhaps the threat of a well-funded initiative will help.

Another provision would require that video and audio recordings be made of all legislative hearings, and be made readily available on Internet.

Some lawmakers will have difficulty swallowing this one. The Assembly has made it a misdemeanor to use the tax-funded videos of its proceedings for political or commercial purposes. They need to get rid of that law and step into the light.

Certainly, there is a risk that videos depicting legislators acting badly at public hearings would find their way into campaign ads. The solution is to not act badly, not to make it a crime to expose legislators’ hijinks.

Read the entire article on the Sacramento Bee‘s website HERE.