Thursday, January 19, 2006

Introducing Reform Roundup: A Blog-Friendly Reform

Since reading Josh Marshall's piece and posting The Question, I'm utterly taken with the idea of Democrats running on a reform agenda. No matter how disgusted people are with the excesses of Republicans, Democrats will not win if the electorate believes they represent nothing more than changing the cast of crooks.

I am attempting to take on the task of tracking the specific proposals for reform in Ohio. The national proposals are flying thick and fast and better (and better funded) people than me are toting them. I'll drop links if I see interesting pieces on national reform proposals, but for the most part, I'll keep it Ohio. If I get enough reponse to these posts, I may start a reform-oriented blog. Doing so wouldn't be all that much extra work and would give the online policy wonk community a chance to hash things out and perhaps try to drive the debate some.

Let's start the ball with a little-heralded proposal I heard about over the weekend that should warm the hearts of the blogosphere. Rep. Jennifer Garrison (D, 93) has introduced a HB 323 which would require the General Assembly to post on its website the votes of each member on each specific bill and list each member who failed to vote.

It may surprise you to learn that this information is not readily available. The votes are public record, but, from what I hear, are only kept in the Journal of the GA. Online it is a PDF that has each of the GA's actions for each day listed in the order they occurred. Compiling the votes on one bill generally takes upwards of an hour.

HB 323 would make the legislative process that much more transparent and accessible. According to the fiscal analysis, it would require one staffer's time for two months, and that's it -- no additional costs after that.

Since being introduced in August, House 323 hasn't moved from committee. Rep. Garrison has most of the Democrats on the Committee and one Republican signed up as co-sponsors. A little pressure from the blogosphere may get this moving. The Republican Committee Members are:

Steven Buehrer (R-74)
Chuck Blasdel (R-01)
Jim Carmichael (R-03)
Larry Flowers (R-19)
Arlene Setzer (R-36)
Tom Patton (R-18)
Kathleen Walcher (R-58)

If you are not sure which district you are in, here is a zoomable pdf map, and here's a database list linking to detailed maps of each district. If you are near a relevant member, an email wouldn't hurt. Just click through the link above and you will find the Representative's official page with contact info and an email link.

If anyone gets an interesting reply, write it up in the comments section.

Update: Thanks to Reclaim Ohio and Lisa Renee for linking to this.


Unknown said...

I want to thank you for writing about this. I wasn't aware of it and having spent alot of time searching for this information on a State basis? It would be awesome to get this thru.