Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let the Sun Shine In ... But Not Everywhere.

Hawaii state law requires that all decision-making by public officials be done in the open … and for the record. Few will deny that transparency in government is a good thing, but there are times and circumstances when the law makes life difficult for lawmakers. Three members of the Maui County Council, for example, would be in violation of the law if they happen to run into each other in the Home Depot parking lot and end up discussing a pending vote.

The law specifically includes votes taken by elected officials and, again, few would deny that citizens have the right to know how their Council member voted on a zoning matter or some other piece of business.

The Hawaii State Legislature, however, has exempted itself from the Sunshine Law and in some cases when key decisions are made, the votes are unrecorded. Most recently, that was the case when a bill to permit civil unions for same-sex couples was shelved indefinitely. And there have been others. In every case, it’s taking legislators off the hook for a controversial vote that would provide fodder for an opponent in the next election.

Shame on you, folks! By definition, these controversial issues are important to a lot of people. They deserve to know where you stand. As Harry Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

1 comment:

Pat Gozemba said...

Yes, to Harry Truman and his common sense wisdom. Members of the House of Representatives ought to do the right thing and get HB444out of the shadows and into the sunshine. We demand a roll call vote. None of them deserve to be re-elected if they can't stand up and be counted