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Oklahoma Senate should invest in transparency

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: June 15, 2012

Both chambers post floor votes online in real time and maintain an archive of those votes. However, the House also provides that service for committee votes. Again, the Senate should invest in technology allowing real-time posting of committee votes.

The Senate deserves credit for maintaining digital audio recordings of press conferences, as well as question-and-answer sessions that are posted online along with press releases. And both chambers enable anyone to view or download legislation.

For understandable reasons, the Senate has done things on the cheap in recent years. Its efforts were sufficient to earn Freedom of Information's 2008 Sunshine Award. However, the gap between the two chambers has grown as the House has continued to advance transparency through the use of modern technology.

The House can do more, but the need for greater transparency in the Senate is more glaring. With this year's budget increase, the House appropriation is now $15,574,682 (or $154,204 per lawmaker) and the Senate budget is $12,171,789 (or $253,578 per senator). On a per-member basis, the Senate has a clear cash advantage and should use some of that money to boost transparency.

The public pays for that budget, so the people should have easy access to legislative activity.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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