From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: The General Assembly killed 1,221 of the nearly 3,000 bills introduced during the 2016 legislative session. Two-thirds died without a recorded vote in committee, according to an analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project.
“The number of bills that do not receive a recorded vote has consistently increased year over year,” said Megan Rhyne, director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government. “It’s as important to know how your lawmaker voted on bills that were defeated as it is to know how they voted on bills that passed.”
The transparency trend, reports the T-D‘s Jim Nolan, stands in contrast to a positive rule change enacted by House Speaker William J. Howell that ended the practice of conducting committee meetings at desks in the House chamber, and by decisions in both the House and the state Senate to wait 48 hours before taking a final vote on the state budget.
Bacon’s bottom line: As members of the political party whose ideology is most distrustful of politicians and government (a mistrust that is more richly deserved with each passing year, I might add), one would think that Republicans would stand at the forefront of the transparency-in-government movement. As the party that controls both houses of the legislature, Republicans are in a position to set new, higher standards for openness and transparency in government. Unfortunately, we’re getting a country line dance — one step forward and one step backward. The GOP can do better.
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