The Chronicle (Centralia, WA): Baird "Has logic … on his side" (3/18/06)

The Chronicle leans conservative. Its editorial from March 18, 2006 says that Baird “has logic and the need for transparency in government on his side in pushing for disclosure of legislation to members of Congress and the public on the Internet at least 72 hours before a vote.”

THE CHRONICLE (Centralia, WA) (editorial)
Give lawmakers, public time to study bills prior to vote
Saturday, March 18, 2006

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird of our 3rd Congressional District has logic and the need for transparency in government on his side in pushing for disclosure of legislation to members of Congress and the public on the Internet at least 72 hours before a vote.

Rules in the House of Representatives require bills to be presented to members before a full House vote, but House leaders routinely waive this requirement in the Rules Committee. As a result, as Democrat Baird has complained about for years, House members at times vote on bills they haven’t had time to read.

Further, the House’s rules don’t necessarily require disclosure of the bills to the public before the floor votes, allowing the public no time to read and comment on the bills in advance.

Baird introduced a resolution in the House in February that would require the Internet posting. That could be waived only by a two-thirds vote of the full House.

As a practical matter, it may well be that even if bills are disclosed 72 hours before a vote, some members of Congress still wouldn’t bother to read them and might still vote on them anyway. But they all ought to at least have the opportunity to know the details of what they are voting on.

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