Monday, March 7, 2011

Fasten Your Seatbelts, Privacy and Open Government in for Bumpy Night

I liked Bette Davis in the movie, All About Eve, and the quote she states is appropriate at the Legislature.

"Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night ."

With ten weeks to go at the Legislature I am waiting for the bills I usually expect from the Department of Administration, and other state and local departments, agencies, and private groups which in their view makes government more open and efficient.  My view is that a number of their initiatives can make government  less accountable and transparent, create  more secrets, and compromise an individuals privacy and civil liberties.

When a person walks into the dark they do not know what to expect, same here with an all new line up at the Capitol.  The expectations of what will be introduced and passed is not all too clear for me.  Usually I could feel with a sense of certainty specific bills would not pass the legislative process.

With the deadlines being turned upside down which means money first, then policy, there will be a rush in April for the bills to be written, near written, and written to be introduced. I have been told by several lobbyists there seems not to be a rush for policy bills currently because of the new deadlines.

My only hope is that the rush for policy bills to make deadline is not like the blitz for money bills as in the past.  When the haste is done for appropriation bills, I believe many members of the public and even members of the legislature felt slighted because there was not enough time for public input.  It is like "wandering in the dark."

So prepare, fasten your seat belts, and be aware of things that go bump in the night.

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