Pass Rep. Baird’s 72 Online Resolution by Election Day (2/17/06)

For Immediate Release: February 17, 2006
Contact: Rafael DeGennaro (202) 544-2620 x102


ReadtheBill.org: House Should Approve Rep. Baird’s 72 Online Resolution by Election Day

(Washington, D.C.) – ReadtheBill.org called on the U.S. House of Representatives to approve by election day a resolution by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) to require that all proposed legislation be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before it comes up for floor debate.

“It’s time to stop passing bills in the dead of night that nobody has read,” said Rafael DeGennaro, Founder and President of ReadtheBill.org. “We want sunshine at the Capitol by November. Any member of Congress who opposes this 72 online reform is part of the problem in Washington, D.C.”

Baird’s resolution updates the current three-day rule in the House, which requires legislation to be available to members of Congress, but not the public, for three calendar days. The three-day rule is vague, obsolete and routinely waived, according to DeGennaro.

“The three-day rule encourages the insiders game in Washington, D.C. because it says that democracy is for members only,” said DeGennaro. “The new 72-hour rule would use the Internet to power democracy for all. It harnesses thousands of people to read the bills and find the shady provisions.”

Introduced Feb. 16, H. Res. 688 amends House rules and only needs to pass the House of Representatives to take effect. It does not need to pass the Senate or be signed by the President.

“Congressman Baird has spoken out and suggested reforms on this issue for more than two years. He’s the perfect champion for this cause. The resolution he has authored is non-ideological and can win support from people of all political perspectives,” said DeGennaro.

Baird’s resolution would cover both first floor action and final conference reports. It would exempt the same categories of legislation exempted from the three-day rule, such as declarations of war and national emergency. It would also protect classified information.

Posted text would be searchable, and access would be convenient, free and anonymous. The resolution would also close loopholes in the three-day rule, such as bills not reported by any committee, and bills considered in the last six days of the session.

ReadtheBill.org is a politically independent voice for transparency in government. Its flagship campaign and laser focus in 2006 is to persuade Congress to post proposed legislation online for 72 hours before it is brought up on the floor. ReadtheBill.org Civic Action is organized under section 501(c)(4).

Links:
H.Res.688–Summary of Provisions
Congressman Brian Baird

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