Sunday, March 17, 2013

Transparency Integral to Democracy

Guest Column from Representative Richard Adams

A democracy is defined as a “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.”

To me it seems that the United States was built upon the idea that the people and government are interlinked to form a great, free nation. This means the government should be held accountable and also should be transparent. I’m happy to say, as representative of the 80th House District, that Ohio’s legislature is taking inventive strides forward to continue its progress towards more transparency.

In February, when the 130th General Assembly began to work on pieces of legislation, the House of Representatives was receptive to the news that the Finance Committee, of which I am a member, would be recorded live and streamed on the Ohio Government Television website. This is a great endeavor for the House and I’m looking forward to having Ohioans be able to witness the proceedings of this committee. Hopefully in the future, we can open live stream access to all committees.

As a member of the Finance and Appropriations Committee, I know that the next few months will be very busy with issues that directly affect our citizens. The budget bill, which was introduced by the governor last month, will be studied and discussed in this committee and voted upon by the whole House. It will then be sent over to the Senate. It’s a long, involved process as it works to outline how the state’s money is allocated in 2015 and 2016.

Another technological change is the introduction of iPads during the Finance and Appropriations Committee instead of viewing bills and amendments on paper. It has saved the state government, and your tax dollars, a lot in paper, ink and toner.

You can view live streaming of the Finance and Appropriations Committee, as well as streaming of session in the House of Representatives on and Videos are archived as well on these websites, along with witness testimony, to be viewed at any time. I encourage constituents in my district to check out the committee process online. It’s important and exciting to see how democracy is working for you.

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