MN Lawmaker proposes subjecting legislature to open meeting laws
St. Paul, MN – A Minnesota State Representative is pushing legislation that could give Minnesotans a clearer view into what exactly goes on behind closed doors at the Capitol.
DFL Representative Paul Thissen (61B) is introducing legislation to make the legislature more transparent by subjecting them to the state’s Data Practices Act and Open Meeting Laws, laws the legislature has exempted itself from for years.
“I think the more sunlight we can shed, the more responsible our budgeting, the more responsible our policy-making is going to be, and again people can have more faith and trust in the system” says Thissen.
Thissen is also pushing to avoid end-of-session chaos where members vote on bills they have not had time to read or get feedback from their constituents on by requiring the House and Senate to adopt joint budget targets in an open and transparent process long before the end of session.
Thissen says he’s expecting pushback and support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Thissen also has support from the Minnesota Newspaper Association. Mark Anfinson, attorney for the association, says “It’s long been the peculiarity of the open meeting law that it imposes certain requirements for transparency for local governing units but not the legislature itself,” stating, “The Newspaper Association always supports expanding transparency, which equals accountability.”
Thissen says the next step in his efforts to further legislative transparency would be requiring meetings between the Governor and House and Senate leadership to be open to the public as well.
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