Sunday, December 12, 2010

Government Transparency Taking An Early Christmas Break In Arizona

When Kirk Adams took over as Speaker of the Arizona House in 2009, he and the rest of the Republicans pledged that Arizona's legislature and its operations would be more transparent than it had been.

After years of dealings conducted in an environment so murky that even legislators had just a few minutes or hours to study legislation before them, it sounded as if *something* was going to improve on West Washington.

Then reality hit, with the crafting of "budgets" behind closed doors without public input and feedback, a massive number of "stealth" legislation pushed via strike-everything amendments or slipped into budget reconciliation bills, and the ramming through of bad bills despite massive public opposition.

That disregard for transparency and the public is continuing this week.

- Tuesday at 10 a.m., the Joint Legislative Income Tax Credit Review Committee will meet in House Hearing Room 3 (HHR3).  They'll be reviewing seven income tax credits.

Six of those will be reviewed in executive session, meaning there won't be any public observation of the proceedings, nor will the public have access to the records of the proceedings.

- Tuesday at 1 p.m., the Joint Committee on Capital Review will meet in Senate Hearing Room 109 (SHR109). 

They'll be considering six items, one of which will be conducted in executive session.  That doesn't sound *too* bad, until you realize that the item that they'll be hiding from public scrutiny is a contract for an "Energy Management System" for the Arizona Department of Corrections.

- Tuesday at 2:30 p.m., also in SHR109, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee will meet.  They'll consider five items on their agenda.

Consideration of four of those items will be cloaked in secrecy.

Those items include a Request for Proposals for 5000 private prison beds and consideration of Correction Health Services Per Diem rates.

An interesting pattern of trying to obscure the machinations of certain public officials, especially in light of the fact of the close ties between Jan Brewer, (Senate President-elect) Russell Pearce, and private prison lobbyists.

While the lack of transparency is deplorable, I actually understand the need for it in this situation -

If the people of Arizona to notice that Brewer and Pearce (and Senseman, Coughlin, et. al.) are sacrificing the lives of other Arizonans by redirecting the $4.5 million that they are "saving" by cutting out transplants from AHCCCS coverage in favor of funnelling the funds (and more) into the pockets of private prison operators, the gravy train on West Washington could be derailed.

Here's hoping...

1 comment:

Dick said...

They waste more money on useless pet projects than they saved by cutting funding for organ transplants. For an example, see