Salem, OR – On Thursday, the Oregon Senate passed a bill that would make the legislative process more transparent. Senate Bill 739 is sponsored by Senator Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) and will require anyone who testifies on a bill in a public hearing to sign in and will make the list of who testified available immediately online along with the measure’s history.
“For years the Legislature has tried to make the entire political process more transparent,” Atkinson stated in his floor speech. “From requiring candidates to declare who gives money to their campaigns to opening meetings to the public; however, one thing we have missed in our open meetings laws is posting who testifies on a bill before committee.”
Under current law, legislative committee meetings are open to the public and individuals who testify on bills are required to sign in, but the sign-in sheets are not available to the public. SB 739 would require individuals to sign in with their name, position on a measure and what organization, if any, they represent. Using an iPad or similar device, those lists could be instantly available online. Sen. Atkinson said in his floor speech he believes a number of Oregonians will be surprised at how little testimony some bills receive, as well as who testifies for or against certain pieces of legislation.
“We all campaigned on transparency and accountability, this measure will help us fulfill those promises,” said Atkinson. “This is a good bill to show the Oregon people how the legislative process works.”
SB 739 passed the Senate on a 29-0 vote and now goes to the House for approval.