Rep.Paul Thissen Pushes for Legislative Transparency and Accountabilty

Rep. Paul Thissen has introduced a package of bills to make the Minnesota Legislature more transparent, accessible and open to the public.  House File 1065, introduced today, makes the legislature subject to the Minnesota Data Practices Act and our state’s open meeting laws. For decades, the Legislature exempted itself from these laws. Another bill, HF240, aims at avoiding end of session disasters we’ve recently witnessed by requiring that the House and Senate adopt joint budget targets in an open and transparent process long before the end of session. In addition, Rep. Thissen supports the DISCLOSE Act (HF 410) which would cast sunlight on the ocean of dark money that is washing through our state elections.

“Too many Minnesotans are discouraged and believe that state government is working for insiders and the well-connected rather than working – as it should – for regular people.  I believe sunshine leads to trust and accountability,” said Rep. Thissen. “By opening the Legislature up to the same data practices and open meeting requirements we demand of all other elected officials, we can start rebuilding trust and create better laws too.”

Provisions of the bill include:

- Letters, emails and other communication and documents (but not individual constituent correspondence) will generally be available for public review;

- All legislative schedules will be public so citizens know who their representative is meeting;

- All meetings – including conference committees -- will be open to all Minnesotans with sufficient advance notice to allow real public participation;

- Requirements for transparent information and open meetings will be enforced with real teeth.

This bill builds on the legislative reform package Rep. Thissen introduced last year.