Last legislative session, Rep. Charles Key offered an Amendment to the legislative rules (dubbed the “Open Government Rule”) which provided that all of our elected representatives would get a hearing on a bill if requested. The amendment failed after leadership left the vote open for a very long time so that they could “whip” recalcitrant house members into switching their Yay votes to Nay votes. The measure thus failed
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.
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 here on 2011 efforts: Time To Restore Representative Government
See current scorecard for your Oklahoma Representatives on this matter and the balance of this article here: AxXiom on HR 1004 discharge petition. Please call/email your representative to thank them or wake them up on this issue.
Cross-posted with OKGrassroots