Thursday, January 6, 2011
Bringing greater transparency to the lawmaking process
There’s a saying: “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” As it turns out, a lot of legislative work today is done on paper and outdated templates, with data about the process hard or impossible to come by. This means that very few citizens are able to follow laws as they’re being made.
We think that more transparency in the legislative process would result in better laws, more engaged citizens, and a better understanding of how the system works.
Lucky for the public, the House of Representatives has passed a new rules package that will make available much more information about how laws are made – with bills, amendments, and messages between the chambers and the White House all publicly available in electronic format. Under the new rules, all bills will be posted online for 72 hours before a final vote, and the House will require all committees to webcast their hearings and markups.
The House is also lifting the ban on electronic gadgets on the House floor, and the House Oversight Committee will post all committee hearings on a new, fully searchable YouTube channel called House.Resource.Org.
We’ve been strong advocates for government transparency, so we’re excited to see the House adopt reforms that will give the public more real-time information about what Congress is up to.