Monday, December 15, 2008

Open Vote, another Voice joins in...

The people need to be able to keep score

In the upcoming General Assembly session, House subcommittee action should be recorded.

There's more than one way to fill back rooms with smoke, and the old-fashioned way -- cigar-chomping pols huddling to cut deals -- is so last century.

A couple of years ago, Virginia's House Republicans hit on a more healthful, politically correct way to operate behind a smokescreen by changing House rules to let subcommittees kill bills on unrecorded votes.

Say the Senate sends over a bill with popular appeal that makes some deep-pocketed lobbyist gag. Just deal it to the right subcommittee and see it die with barely a whimper.

Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine saw some initiatives that he supported disappear in such fashion at the last General Assembly. There was the bill to ban smoking in restaurants, for example. Also, a proposal for bipartisan redistricting -- merely a reform crucial to fairer government representation. Fair game in today's hyperpartisan House of Delegates.

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