Three bills were introduced this legislative session to improve transparency: HB 2369 and SB 6560 -- Increasing legislative transparency by providing mandatory notice and waiting periods before legislative action, banning title-only bills and opening all legislative committees to the public, and SB 6561 -- Requiring notice of legislative committee hearings. None made it out of committee.
A recent article in The Olympian (tinyurl.com/NightHearing) highlighted the need: "When it came time to take testimony on House Bill 2244, chairman Ross Hunter announced that no one had signed up to testify. This was, perhaps, not surprising, given the lateness of the hour -- and given that House Bill 2244 had been left off the agenda."
This type of action is especially punitive to those of us on "the dry side" since it eliminates us from having any chance to testify at a hearing -- whether for or against. It is expedient for the Legislature since it eliminates any time-consuming input from the public.
Apparently this is not a problem for many lawmakers since the practice continues -- and all attempts to change it this year failed. I hope there will be successful attempts to rectify this lack of openness next session.
JIM DAVISON, Waitsburg