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Friday, January 12, 2007

Step One: Acknowledge That You Have a Problem...

In Delaware, where a new NFOIC-sponsored coalition is gearing up, its seems lawmakers want to embrace transparency -- provided they can talk about in closed-door sessions.

The Associated Press reports that after hearing complaints during last year's election campaign about how the legislature operates, including secret discussions by committees that craft budget bills, GOP lawmakers said they would consider ways to make the General Assembly more transparent.

"In passing the state's Freedom of Information Act several years ago, the legislature exempted itself. House Republicans say they now plan to address the FOIA issue as it applies to the General Assembly, but they want to do so out of the public spotlight.

Instead, they plan to form an internal working group "to research best practices in other states with regard to public access to legislative information and activities."

House Majority Leader Wayne Smith said the activities of the internal working group would not be open to the public.

"When legislation is proposed, as is true with any legislation, that will be something that will run through the committee process, and those (hearings), of course, will be open to the public and available for comment at any time during the process," he said.

Republicans said the working group would be charged with making recommendations "to improve the transparency of the General Assembly operations," and that the GOP hoped to pass legislation this year."

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