For real transparency we need to slow down

For real transparency we need to slow down

Advocacy for a slower pace in the legislature from Common Cause Rhode Island

Kudos to the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), RI House and Senate for helping the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC) with a new bill tracking system.  More tools for the public to follow the legislative process is an important win for transparency.

It should be noted, however, that even the best bill tracking (and we’ve had an internal system since 1996) is of little use when legislation flies through the process in the final days of the session.  If an amendment emerges and is voted on within minutes, that doesn’t help the business community, the public, or even the legislators being asked to take the vote.  That’s why Common Cause has proposed a rule for the House and Senate to hold amendments for 48 hours in committee before any vote. 

Transparency is important, but a process that allows citizens to take advantage of that transparency to make their voices heard in our policy process is even more important.