Sunday, October 16, 2005

San Angelo Standard-Times: Local

San Angelo Standard-Times: Local: "Various media and advocacy groups are urging Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to create a committee to study the possibility of requiring a record of every vote in the legislature.

Currently, House and Senate rules govern whether lawmaker votes are recorded. During the regular session, the House allowed any member to request a record vote, and Senate rules required a record of all votes - thanks to a new rule. Lawmakers can change the rules, and advocacy groups want a state law requiring them to record all votes.

Lawmakers should shine a bright light on their official work in Austin, said Katherine Garner, executive director the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

''It's important for citizens to know how the legislators are voting,'' said Garner, whose group advocates for open government. ''People need to know if their views are being represented.''

Garner's group has teamed with dozens of organizations, including the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors, which has been one of the most active groups in the recorded-vote drive.

During the regular session, lawmakers introduced several pieces of legislation to require record votes.

None of them passed."


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