Kansans in the Dark

Keeping Kansans in the DarkIf you've followed MainStream, you know we educate, advocate, and act on behalf of a number of issues. This session, we've done a lot of work on health care access, gun safety, voting rights, and women's reproductive health, among others. Our mission to advocate for Kansans is broad. But there are a few themes that touch all aspects of our advocacy. One of the most important is good governance, the idea that government should be free of corruption, be effective, be representative of constituents.

Transparency underpins that effort. If the details of who supports legislation, who voted for it in committee, who supported amendments on the floor, and how legislators voted are kept from voters, or needlessly made difficult to learn, that does not contribute to good governance.

This session began with a lot of excellent dialogue about transparency. Promises were made, and bills were introduced. But as of today, only one, a bill to extend lobbying restrictions that apply to the Legislative branch to the Administrative and Judicial branches too, has seen any significant action.

The most high profile measure, a bill to require sponsor names on bills introduced to the Legislature, was undercut by leadership when House Speaker Rep. Ron Ryckman ordered his legislative leaders include sponsor names in the minutes of bills introduced. This proved toothless, as many bills remain anonymous, and committee minutes are rarely made available to the public online.

This is an election year, and much of the politics we can expect is glad-sounding but ineffective in an attempt to offend no voter.

Every voter should be offended when government hides what it does. The argument is made sometimes that nobody wants to see how the sausage is made. That the compromises made to achieve momentum in politics are not pretty. That legislating is complex and confusing. And yet, everyone should know what goes into the sausage before eating it.

Kansans deserve to know what happens in their government.

Here are a few articles to get up to speed.

Thank you for all that you do. Change begins with you.

It starts here. Do more than vote.

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@ksmainstream tweeted this page. 2018-02-26 20:23:25 -0600
All the advocacy and action can't make a difference if we're working in the dark. http://www.mainstreamcoalition.org/kansans_in_the_dark?recruiter_id=20493
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