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Roll Call: Baird Seeks More Bill Transparency (6/26/07)

A resolution introduced last week by Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) would amend House rules to require that legislation and conference reports be made available online 72 hours before being considered by the chamber.

Despite the obstacles, Democratic leaders should approve Baird’s legislation, said Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation…adding that putting legislation and conference reports online for a few days is “kind of a no-brainer.”

PRESS RELEASE: Monsters from Congress — The scariest things you never read

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Contact: Rafael DeGennaro 202-544-2620
press |at| readthebill.org

MONSTERS FROM CONGRESS
Report shows Congress never reads omnibus appropriations bills

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As Congress prepares to consider another year-end catch-all spending bill, a new report shows members of Congress never read such bills or know what is in them. Under both Republican and Democratic leadership in recent decades, Congress has passed 1000-page conference reports with only a few hours or even minutes for review.

“These monster spending bills are the scariest things you never read,” said Rafael DeGennaro, a former congressional staff person who directs the organization ReadtheBill.org, which authored the report. “No human reads these thousand-page behemoths before they become the law of the land.”

Smart Money: 10 Things Your Congressman Won’t Tell You (11/06)

In a perfect world, our legislators would vote on each bill based on thorough, firsthand analysis. But that’s not how it works in Washington.

States News Service: Congressman Baird Moves to Strengthen Existing House Rules (6/21/07)

Rep. Brian N. Baird, D-Wash. (3rd CD), issued the following press release:

As a constant advocate for a transparent and open Congress, Rep. Brian Baird (WA-03) today re-introduced legislation with Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), to ensure that members have adequate time to review and read legislation before being brought up for a vote.

The Olympian (Olympia, WA): Political gaming is getting old (9/8/2006)

“The political high jinks of last week once again points to the need for what Baird is calling a ’72 Hour’ bill”

Oregonian: Baird seeks more open Congress (4/23/07)

Rep. Baird says House Democrats are doing better in practive giving time to read bills, and are unlikely to embrace stronger rules. Rafael DeGennaro of Readthebill.org says House Democrats are giving more time to read than did the previous House Republican majority, but that there are still problems and the Democrats may slip into bad habits.

Columbian (Vancouver, WA): "72 Hours Needed" (1/10/07)

“Because members of Congress spend billions of dollars and affect the lives of millions of Americans, they should have at least 72 hours to read bills, and the bills should be posted online for all the public to see.”

Washington Times: "Sunlight reforms for Congress" (1/8/07)

“The solution is simple: All bills …, with their sponsors identified, should be posted online at least 72 hours before the vote. Then all members, and the press and interested citizens, could read the bill and know who sponsored it before it’s too late.”

Oregonian: Baird asks colleagues to actually read bills (12/18/06)

Rep. Baird leads in getting his colleagues to confront this problem. Democrats unclear what they will propose. Taxpayers for Common Sense speaks up strongly for 72 hours, not 24. ReadtheBill.org emphasizes how bad recent Republican practice was.

The Olympian (Olympia, WA): Baird re-elected, talks about his 72 hours reform (11/8/06)

On the day of his re-election, Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) talked about his 72 hours online reform. He said the Democratic takeover should help this reform win support.