Transparency News 1/3/20



January 3, 2020


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state & local news stories


Among the bills dropped yesterday was one from Del. Mark Levine that would expand the rules for when individual board member can call into a meeting as a participant by both adding a new situation when it's OK and by increasing the number of times the member can do it. The bill is HB 281, and you can find it and others on VCOG's annual bill tracking chart.

While Virginia's legislature has become more transparent since 2015, lawmakers can take steps to improve the ability of citizens to engage with state government, a collection of groups called Transparency Virginia wrote to legislative leaders. It says those steps should include video streaming of subcommittee hearings and quickly posting substitute bills to the state's Legislative Information System website. The group sent a Dec. 10 letter to House and Senate leaders of both parties authored by Megan Rhyne, executive director of the nonprofit Virginia Coalition for Open Government.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

In the days leading up the General Assembly session, state lawmakers are mingling and taking campaign contributions, but you wouldn't know the donors or amounts until months later. A state senator wants to make that information more transparent. Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County, introduced SB 217, which would require lawmakers and those holding statewide office to report contributions over $1,000 received during a period beginning Jan. 1 and ending the day before the first day of the regular session of the General Assembly. Currently, contributions received in January of non-election years don't have to be disclosed until July 15, which is after the regular legislative  session concludes and new laws take effect.
The Roanoke Times