Senator Elaine Phillips (R-Manhasset) recently voted in favor of legislation to ensure transparency and protect people’s ability to access information about state government.
The legislation (S1748), which Senator Phillips cosponsored, would make reforms requiring the state legislature to publicly disclose information about bills, legislative meetings and voting records on their websites permanent in law.
“People have every right to know what their government is doing, because at the end of the day, government is supposed to serve the public. Enabling them to access bills, view public meetings and know how their representatives voted are basic and fundamentally necessary protections. Making these commonsense measures permanent and uniform in law are important steps to ensure transparency and openness,” said Senator Phillips.
Currently, these measures are not law. Both the Senate and Assembly each vote on their own new set of rules at the start of every two-year legislative session. Since the rules of each house are different, there is a risk that they could choose differing requirements about what information to make available or utilize alternative methods to publicly disclose it. This would create confusion among the public and impede transparency.
The legislation was passed by the State Senate and has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.