SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. — The Daily Voice accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the editor,
Last Thursday, the state Republican Party publicly questioned a vote I cast last week against an amendment to post legislative committee votes online, a concept that I had supported during a pre-election debate.
As your legislator, it is my responsibility to explain any vote I cast on your behalf and I appreciate this opportunity to respond.
While I fully support the intent of the amendment to increase transparency, passing this type of proposal without understanding the practical resource requirements is not something I could support.
Unlike roll call votes, which are currently posted online and number in the hundreds each legislative session, there are approximately 6,000-8,000 committee votes taken in the same period. Cataloging this quantity of information online is not a trivial task. In requesting support for the proposal, the amendment’s sponsor did not provide any basic information on resource requirements or planning, nor had they contacted legislative information services to request that such information be compiled.
This session I am co-sponsoring a bill (HD 3412) that, unlike last week’s amendment, will pass through the full committee and public hearing process allowing important details to be addressed. This will allow us to move forward with a more thoughtful and productive proposal.
As we continue to discuss ways to increase transparency in our legislative process, I appreciate the opportunity to highlight some of the progress we have made in recent years:
- All House and Senate roll call votes are available online.
- Video of all House and Senate formal sessions are available online.
- New House and Senate budget websites that allow citizens to track amendments in near real time as they are filed, debated and voted on.
- Video of many committee proceedings are available in real time and are archived online.
- As part of the FY11 budget, the Open Checkbook website was launched which details state spending, payroll and pension information and tax credit information.
State Representative, Eighth Middlesex District