Victory mostly...

With the legislation that was passed it is far more likely we will now be able to read bills before they are considered on the house floor. To make sure this actually happens regularly we need to stay on top of our lawmakers to make sure they're following through.

New 72 Hour Rule Bill Introduced

On Friday, Rep. Peters introduced a new bill, (H. Res. 230), to carry the Read the Bill mantle.

The bill would require all legislation that hasn’t been reported out of committee to be posted online for at least 72 hours.

The measure, also cosponsored by Reps Quigley and Polis, comes on the heels of the new House Rules for the 112th Congress, which require three calendar days for legislation. This rules change (from this January) was a significant improvement over what came before, even if there are many avenues for evading a full, 72 hour public airing of legislation.

Continue reading…

Take Action: Call Speaker Boehner and ask him to keep his word on Read the Bill

The House voted on a bill yesterday, which, while posted to the Internet on Tuesday morning, was not available for 72 hours or more. This violated public pledges by Speaker John Boehner and other House leaders to afford the public this amount of time to read bills prior to consideration.

Call Speaker Boehner now and ask him to honor his pledge in the future to keep bills online and publicly available for 72 hours before consideration.

Continue reading…

Boehner's Many 72 Hour Pledges

On March 17, 2010, Congress pushed for a vote to defund NPR. It’s a bit surprising that the Read the Bill pledge was subverted by the majority not providing 72 hours of online, public review of the defunding bill after Speaker John Boehner’s many public pledges that specify that 72 hour time frame. Here’s a selection of the many, many times that Speaker Boehner pledged 72 hours of public review for all bills.

Continue reading…

Does the NPR Defund Vote Violate 72 Hour Pledge?

The House is set to vote today for a bill that would forbid funding for National Public Radio. The bill, while posted to the Internet on Tuesday morning, has not been available for 72 hours or more, which would appear to violate a pledge by Speaker John Boehner to afford the public this amount of time to read bills prior to consideration.

Continue reading…

Read the Bill Reality

The House is about to adopt rules changes for the 112th Congress that will bring Congress closer to Sunlight’s goal of ensuring the American public has the opportunity to read all bills before they are considered on the House floor. The Rules committee may have overstated the breadth of its accomplishment—and made liberal use of ellipses—when it stated that the new rule provides, “it shall not be in order to consider a bill or joint resolution which has not been reported by a committee until the third calendar day…on which such measure has been publicly available in electronic form.” The actual language of the rule doesn’t go quite that far. But, the changes to the House Rules, combined with the new majority’s pledge to ensure a more transparent Congress, should make it far more likely that the public will be able to “Read the Bill” before it is considered on the House floor.

Continue reading…

House Rules Transparency Victory

While we’re still waiting to see the draft copy of the House Rules from the incoming majority today, we’re now hearing some of the provisions that will be included in the draft. Many of these provisions are just what Sunlight has asked for in our proposed Rules reforms.

Continue reading…

Evading Read the Bill

As House Republican leaders examine their options for House reforms, the 72 Hour Rule, or ReadTheBill, is always near the top of the list. The form this reform will take, though, is far from clear. Daniel recently gave details on the technical limitations a 72 Hour rule will face, noting that bills need to be shared better — on THOMAS, in a machine-readable format, and available in bulk — in order to maximize reuse online.

Continue reading…

Read The Bill 2.0

People have become increasingly aware that their elected representatives often do not read the legislation they vote upon. Sometimes there’s not enough time between the introduction and adoption of legislation for anyone but the bill’s sponsor to grasp the contents. Other times so many amendments are added that few people — if any — fully understand the final document. In the haste to build support and pass bills, provisions are inserted unnoticed that contain unrecognized flaws and political pay-offs. The public and legislators alike are disconnected from the legislative process intended to serve their needs.

Continue reading…

Sign up to get updates on Read the Bill or other legislation like this!