The Oklahoma Open Government Act HR 1004
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Oklahoma State Representative Charles Key (R) District 90, will be with us in studio to discuss a problem with the legislative rules at the Oklahoma Statehouse that many believe “encourages government secrecy, corrupts politicians and cuts the heart out of representative government.”
The problem: Bills are assigned to committees whose chairmen exercise dictatorial control over whether a bill gets a fair hearing. Without discussion or vote, chairmen can arbitrarily kill any legislation they choose.
If a legislator is unable to get his or her bill heard, then representative government is essentially dead. Many good bills never get a fair hearing and recorded vote because the committee chairman chooses not to hear them. Legislators are able to avoid taking a public position on difficult issues. The people are the losers.
This kind of power was never envisioned by America‘s Founders or the authors of our state constitution. They meant for the legislative process to be open to all the people’s representatives (legislators) so that all ideas could be heard and debated in search for the best ones. This moral issue is the foundation of representative government and a free society.
. . .The solution is the Open Government Rule: The House and Senate need to change their rules to assure that every bill that a legislator wants heard gets a fair hearing in committee and recorded vote. And every bill that passes committee gets a fair hearing and recorded vote on the floor.
This rule change will assure that the people, through their representatives, get a fair hearing for their ideas. Just as important, the people will be able to hold their representatives accountable. No longer will politicians be able to say one thing while doing something else.
Read more from Rep. Charles Key
Read the bill- HR 1004
We will hear from other legislators and grassroots activists their views on this issue.
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