Annette Pfannebecker: Support the Sunlight Act

The Massachusetts State House 

The Massachusetts State House  MATT STONE/BOSTON HERALD/TNS

Nicky/via Pixabay

Nicky/via Pixabay Nicky/via Pixabay

Published: 03-24-2024 2:15 PM

It is disheartening to hear that our state Legislature is one of the least transparent in the nation. While we see our House and Senate representatives do so much for the districts they serve, writing and passing important legislation, there are also a number of bills introduced that are sponsored by groups or legislators that do not move through to passage and that is a problem.

The public doesn’t know the process, status or path to get these bills moving and what we can do about them. This lack of transparency is a concern for all of us. As an aside, the Legislature has been obstructing the efforts of State Auditor Diane DiZoglio to audit them and hold them accountable.

We need transparency in the State House. Act on Mass, a nonprofit watchdog, is sponsoring the Sunlight Act (S.1963) to bring transparency to the Legislature. This bill recently passed through the Rules Committee and is in the Ways and Means Committee, which can send this bill to the Senate to vote.

The Sunlight Act, sponsored by longtime transparency champion Sen. Jamie Eldridge, would implement a number of urgent transparency reforms, including requiring all recorded committee votes to be posted on the Legislature’s website, requiring that committee hearings be scheduled at least a week in advance, making written testimony submitted to committees publicly available, and making the governor’s office not exempt from the state’s public records law.

If you agree, go to www.actonmass.org and click the link to request your senator to support the Sunlight Act. There is more information on transparency issues as well as a short video that highlights the issues in the Sunlight Act. Read and sign up for the Saturday Scoop with weekly updates that keep you informed.

Annette Pfannebecker

South Deerfield

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