Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Democracy advanced: easy written testimony

by Larry Geller

Ok, now I’m feeling guilty.

Our state legislature has a really great electronic records system. It’s easy to submit written testimony and to track bills. Really easy. Bill texts and other information is just a click away.

So I complained about the delays in giving oral testimony, which I consider to be very important. Looking at how the system has improved with regards to access to hearing notices, testimony, etc., it’s made some valuable advances.


Larry, don't feel guilty. Our legislature has a very convoluted thought process about openness and its role in the legislative process. The more open they seem to become with records, notice and conference committees, the less public the deliberative part of the process it seems to have become. It becomes more and more of a spectacle in public and the real work occurs in after-hour drinking sessions and during post-floor-session-caucuses. We end up fighting two dimensional caricatures and shadows in the halls. One step forward, two steps back.

Well boo hoo.
Consider the "neighbor islander"; NO chance to give testimony to an O'ahu-centric legislature that can even turn many of our own representatives against us eventually. Yes, the electronic records system is great as are the people working in the public access room, but everyone knows real time, oral testimonies are the only ones that counts and our emails are rarely read.
Same old story, frozen out of the process because they can't spring for a few video cameras.

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