Archive for December 2008
House Democrats Prevail on Open Government Measure
GOP Majority Finally Sees the Light on Public Accountability
According to news reports, Speaker Bill Howell has declared that the House of Delegates will record subcommittee votes during the upcoming General Assembly session. This represents a dramatic turnaround for the GOP, which has refused to record the votes since subcommittees were given killing power in 2006.
House Democrats have continually fought the undemocratic rule change since its introduction, but have been defeated on party-line votes each time. [HR48, 1/19/07; Floor amendment to Proposed Rules of the House, 1/9/08]
Delegate Ken Plum and Delegate Shannon Valentine even sent a letter to their colleagues earlier this month encouraging House Republicans to reconsider their position of opposing recorded subcommittee votes.
“Public support for transparency in government is overwhelming,” said Delegate Plum in response to today’s news. “Clearly, a vote in the House of Delegates without binding caucus rules would have resulted in this change. I am pleased that the Republican caucus has finally come around on this issue.”
“When citizens learn that votes are not recorded in subcommittees of the House of Delegates, they are surprised and disappointed,” added Delegate Valentine. “Open, honest government that is accountable to Virginians is critical if we going to address the serious issues facing our Commonwealth.”