20 January 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Transparency Virginia, a collection of lobbyists and advocates monitoring transparency in the General Assembly, will again this 2017 legislative session be monitoring the three areas of legislative accountability that first brought the group together in 2014.
First, TVa monitors the notice that is given for subcommittee and committee meetings so that citizens and advocates may observe or participate in them. Second, TVa also believes that all bills should receive consideration by a committee or subcommittee. Finally, TVa believes that all votes on bills should be recorded by name, not just by an up or down voice vote.
TVa members have endorsed HB1677, brought by Del. Ben Cline (R-Amherst), which would codify these second two points above: The bill would require all legislation in both the House and Senate “to be considered by the committee of purview or a subcommittee thereof and receive a recorded vote.”
Passage of HB1677 would complement the committee notification system implemented in the House of Delegates last year by Speaker of the House William Howell. The notice system greatly improved the ability of citizens, the press, lobbyists and advocates to follow when bills they care about are being discussed and voted on in the House committees and subcommittees.
Though outside TVa’s three main areas, TVa also supports a measure announced by the Speaker this year to archive video recordings of House floor sessions on the House livestreaming website (http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3). Video access enhances the public’s ability to monitor their elected officials in action and ascertain their positions on bills.
The meeting notice improvements and the video archives are improvements made since TVa’s formation and have brought Virginia government closer to the public.
TVa applauds the Speaker’s actions and encourages the Senate to make similar efforts.
Questions about TVa’s past and current work can be directed Megan Rhyne at 540-353-8264.