Legislative Transparency and Accountability Advances to the Forward Thinking Four

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The Legislative Transparency and Accountability idea has been advanced to the Forward Thinking Four stage of the Fix California Challenge. The idea includes many common-sense reforms that have been discussed for many years but never implemented including:

 

  • All legislation in writing for public/press review for at least 72 hours before final vote; this prevents powerful interests from cutting their deals in private without public participation

  • All legislative hearings videotaped and available to public within 24 hours of occurrence.

  • Information released to public shall be in machine-readable formats to facilitate google-like searches which is vastly more useful that dumps of boxes filled with paper

  • Detailed release of the legislature's spending on its own activities including travel, staff, contracts, and perks

  • Create more public access to legislative records

 

This proposal argues that a basket of "best practice" open government reforms would dramatically increase the public's ability to hold its legislature accountable, decrease the power of special interest insiders, and increase the responsiveness of state government to the true needs of its citizenry.

 

California imposes strict laws governing transparency and accountability for counties, cities, and schools. However, it has exempted itself from virtually all of these laws. This has reduced the ability for the press and the public to engage its the legislature. As a result the balance of power has moved decidedly in the favor of powerful well-connected special interests with their armies of lobbyists who walk the halls of the capitol.

 

The author of this idea is former member of the legislature and current Director of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Institute of Advanced Technology and Public Policy, Sam Blakeslee.

 

Fix California Challenge community members are discussing the merits of machine-readable documents, “open-data”, and the need for transparency of the legislative process of the behalf of Californians.  View the original submission and add your voice here. Follow the conversation on Facebook & Twitter using #FixCal.

 

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