Monday, April 02, 2007


Who cares about the public anyway: House will hear unavailable bills tomorrow

What does the public matter anyway? Here's what the House Finance Committee will be hearing at 2 p.m. tomorrow:

Of the three bills to be heard, none of the proposed amendments are posted on the website. Much of the public will never see the text and won't be able to prepare testimony on these bills.

Also, the third bill, SB679 is titled Relating to Emergencies on the hearing notice but the bill on the web is Emergencies; Tourism, and was a bill about having the governor declare a "tourist emergency" if something happened here or elsewhere in the world, for example. The proposed new bill is a complete gut-and-replace. I had a peek. Not only has the title changed (is that allowed?) but the contents are entirely different.

At this time in the session, bills are being mixed and combined. The Senate continues to post its actions on the web so that the public is informed, the House persists in ignoring the public's right to participate.

The public be damned.
--William H. Vanderbilt
House Speaker Calvin Say wrote a commentary for the Advertiser that appeared on March 14 headlined Legislature needs flexibility to do the people's work. Why is it that doing the people's work so often means excluding the public from the process?


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