National Sunshine Week

THE PLYMOUTH COUNTY GOP

Plymouthcountygop.com/ P O Box 424, Halifax Ma 02338

contact@plymouthcountygop.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            Contact: Vincent Cogliano, Jr.

March 13, 2013                    781-910-1715

(Plymouth County) – It is national Sunshine Week across the United States and a new report indicates Massachusetts ranks among the worst in the nation on legislative transparency.  Open States, (openstates.org), a nationally recognized watchdog group, recently gave the Bay State an “F” when it comes to government accountability. What’s more troubling is that Massachusetts House Democrats voted to block a raft of good-government amendments in January.

“Massachusetts is the only state to exempt State Representatives and Senators from open meeting and public records laws. The Democratic leadership, and their counterparts in the House, continue to deny taxpayers basic information that should be easily accessible. What are they hiding?” said Plymouth County GOP Chairman Vince Cogliano, Jr.

On January 23, 2013 Republican Leader Bradley Jones (R-N Reading) and Senator Bob Hedlund (R-Weymouth) offered an amendment to the Rules requiring committee votes to be placed on the internet. Representative Angelo D’Emilia (R-Bridgewater) offered an amendment requiring the Legislature to get local aid resolutions to communities by March 15th for their budget planning.  State Representative Geoff  Diehl ( R-Whitman) offered an amendment that would require the Legislature to give lawmakers 24 hours to review bills prior to taking a vote.  Rep. Keiko Orrall (R-Lakeville) crafted a procedural amendment to provide greater clarity as to how bills may be amended.  These examples reflect just 4 of 26 amendments filed by Republicans to shed some light on the inner-dealings of state lawmakers.   As is often the case, all 26 amendments were defeated by House Democrats along party lines.

“In November, candidates pledged their commitment to open government and access. A mere 60 days later, when given the chance to honor their campaign promises, they all voted to maintain the secrecy that breeds corruption and distrust on Beacon Hill. Freshman Democrat Josh Cutler voted against 2 of his own campaign priorities; allowing for legislative committee members to vote for their own Chairman and post corresponding committee votes on line.  While Mr. Cutler may counter that he has filed stand-alone legislation to accomplish similar goals, why then did he opt to vote down such proposals when given the opportunity?” Cogliano said.

“What’s fortunate about the Rules debate is that the amendments are straightforward, and are often times the most effective way to bring about procedural changes in a convoluted lawmaking process. This vote comes at the start of a new legislative session, and unfortunately Plymouth County State Representatives Brady, Bradley, Canavan, Calter, Cantwell, Cronin, Cutler and Nyman moved to uphold the status quo. By voting the party line, they just conceded our vote and their power to the Speaker perpetuating everything that is wrong on Beacon Hill.” said Carver GOP Chairman and PCGOP Director Mark Townsend.

Sunshine week is now in its 8th year attempting to draw the public’s attention to the importance of open government and freedom of information.

As a point of reference: http://www.malegislature.gov/B… H.2013 and H.2015 as well as House Journal

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