WRCB TV reported yesterday that the “special committee studying the state’s open government laws voted unanimously today to delay making any recommendations to the Legislature until 2008.”
This was the committee that, according to the ethics reform passed nearly a year ago, was to have rendered a report this Friday. That report was to recommend changes to Tennessee’s open government laws.
Instead, the committee wasn’t even formed until just last month, making the delay look purposeful, because it was the state’s top legislative leaders who drug their feet in making their appointments to the commission.
I suppose that the end of the prospect of more open state government shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone since, as Rep. Brian Kelsey pointed out, the ethics reform legislation creating the open government commission was put together in a . . . secret meeting.
That notwithstanding, what are the open government rules that you would like to see Tennessee adopt?
I’ll start you off with three suggestions:
1. All legislative floor debate, as well as committee and subcommittee meetings should be recorded (at least audio, if not also video), and made publicly available within 24 hours on the state’s website.
2. All edits to a bill’s wording must note the name of the legislator making the change.
3. The State Legislature shall not be exempt from any open government laws that it applies to other state, county, or local governmental bodies.