Friday, February 25, 2011

Senators send Majority Leader letter about transparency abuses

This has not been the Senate's best week when it comes to legislative transparency. First the Senate Government Operations Committee chose not to act on SB 5419 (legislative transparency) by the first cutoff despite the support of the State Auditor and Attorney General. Then even lawmakers were kept in the dark about the bills being heard at public hearings. As we highlighted earlier this week Sen. Honeyford (ranking member of the Senate Environment, Water and Energy Committee) ultimately walked out of Monday's hearing after his complaints were ignored that the Committee was moving on substitutes and holding a public hearing without adequate notice for either the public or members . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Legislative transparency bill not dead yet

Straight out of a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the legislative grim reaper is making the rounds this morning calling for committees to bring out their dead bills. Yesterday marked the first legislative cutoff for bills. Fortunately, however, not all bills are dead yet. Although the Senate Government Operations Committee chose not to act on SB 5419, if at least 25 Senators believe this important legislative transparency reform is worth additional consideration they can relieve the Committee of the bill and put it on the Senate floor . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

States need Medicaid flexibility

As states across the country struggle to balance their budgets perhaps no single issue is hampering their options more than the federal restrictions of the Medicaid program. This is why we teamed up with Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Vice Chair of the Republican Conference) to write this op-ed in today's Seattle Times on the need for Congress to provide states Medicaid flexibility . . . READ MORE

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hearing on legislative transparency bill

The Senate Government Operations Committee heard public testimony this morning on SB 5419 to improve legislative transparency. The State Auditor and the Attorney General's Office were among those signing in support of the proposal. Due to the length of the testimony on a different bill, public comment was limited to one minute on SB 5419. Here is the brief video of the three individuals that testified (myself included) . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Examples of legislative transparency good and bad

We've been a frequent critic of how the legislature conducts itself when it comes to being transparent so when good news develops it is something we look forward to reporting. This past week the legislature decide to change its process for providing notice of public hearings on draft and substitute bills . . . READ MORE

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How about public hearings for the public?

One of the great things about our democracy and legislative process is the ability for citizens to testify before their lawmakers and offer their thoughts about policies that may soon impact their lives. Of course, providing for public hearings to facilitate this exchange is only as meaningful as the details provided to the public beforehand . . . READ MORE