Dec. 20, 2010
Oklahoma State Representative Jason Murphy sent out an email yesterday explaining how he chooses legislation to pursue based on constituent input and announces his intent to sponsor a bill to require that the state legislature comply with the open records and open meeting laws. Great idea! Make the legislators follow the law.
It is a shame that this issue must be pushed but it seems that it must. The fact is that even as our government makes steady gains in its ability to watch and monitor ordinary citizens, the ability for us to look back has been constrained.
Kudos to Rep. Murphy and I hope all the fans of open government will be watching and supporting this bill.
On Sunday Dec. 19th Rep. Murphy writes;
One of the bills I intend to sponsor and which I believe will have a
significant impact on making Oklahoma government more responsible to
the citizens is a proposal to require that the Oklahoma Legislature
comply with Oklahoma’s open record and open meeting laws.
These two very important laws require Oklahoma governing bodies to
conduct business according to a set of rules which are designed to
ensure your right as a citizen to know that what happens in government
is upheld. However, the Legislature is exempted from these laws. In my
view this is wrong, and I believe the Legislature should abide by the
same laws they ask other Oklahoma governing bodies to abide by.
This is not a ground-breaking proposal. Other state governments
already require that their legislative bodies follow their respective
state’s open record and open meeting laws.
One of the most important aspects of this law would be the cessation
of legislative caucuses discussing issues behind closed doors. An
important principle of open meeting laws is the concept which dictates
that a majority of a governing body should never meet behind closed
doors to discuss business. This concept helps keep policy makers from
taking a public stand which is different from the position taken in
An open records law would also establish a clear set of criteria which
would govern which legislative records should be kept private and
which should be made public.
I know that passing this particular proposal will be a difficult
challenge, but I am convinced that it is the right thing to do.
State Representative Jason Murphey
State Capitol Building – Room #437
2300 North Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
1(405) 557-7350 (Office)
1(405) 315-5064 (Cell)