EdgefieldDaily.com               "Edgefield County as it Happens"

Featured
Sections

Headlines
Opinion
Obituaries
Sports
Crime Blotter
Stolen Property
Happenings
Country Cooking
Wandering Minds
Classifieds
Birthdays 

Off The Wall
Cartoons
On The Record
Archives
Church Listings







Featured Columns
Dr. Myers
Carl Langley
Editor's Column


Registered Sex Offenders for Edgefield County

2005 Crime Stats

Video & Audio Updates
Audio Archive
(Testing)
Video Archive

Contact us
Contact Info
or
E-mail the Editor
Phone:
803-634-0964 day
803-279-5041 eve
803-279-8943 fax

Mail to
EdgefieldDaily.com
PO Box 972
Edgefield SC
29824


School System
EC District Office
School Board
Strom Thurmond

Charter Schools
Fox Creek

Private Schools

Wardlaw Academy

Public Offices
Edgefield County
Edgefield
Johnston
Trenton

Political
State and Federal Legislative Contacts

Local Political Parties
Republican Party
Democrat Party

Chamber of Commerce
Edgefield County Chamber

Historical

Edgefield Genealogical
Society


News links    
Edgefield Advertiser
The Citizen News
Aiken Standard
North Augusta Star
The State
Augusta Chronicle
Atlanta  Journal
United Press
Associated Press
FOX News
Reuters
CNS News
WorldNet Daily
Newsmax
Drudge Report
GoogleNews
Yahoo!News
New York Times
New York Post
Los Angeles Times
Washington Times
Washington Post







Making state government open for you


By: SC Sen. Shane Massey
web posted August 20, 2008
GUEST COLUMN – I’m a big fan of the Olympics, but this isn’t a column about those exciting games in Beijing. My thoughts today are about an Olympic-sized gap in the openness of state government.  I want to close that gap, and taking this step will continue our effort to shake things up in Columbia.

It’s all about how your tax money is spent and who is spending it.

I have made transparency in government a focus of my efforts in the S.C. Senate because you’ve told me that’s important to you.  You may remember that the first bill I introduced in the Senate was to require my fellow legislators to put their names on requests for funding for local projects, also known as earmarks.  It’s another way to keep them from hiding how they spend your money.

Now, it’s time to take the next step to make your state elected officials even more accountable.

Voice votes vs. roll calls
Under current rules in the General Assembly, many important bills are decided on a voice vote.  A voice vote gives legislators a chance to hide under the cover of anonymity by just saying “yes” or “no” aloud as a group without ever registering how we vote.  Oftentimes, it’s easier to find a lost sock than to find out how a legislator voted.

There’s a solution for this problem:  “roll call” votes.  In the Senate, the clerk literally calls the roll, and each legislator has to say exactly how he or she votes on each bill.  Currently, roll call votes are held in the General Assembly about 5 percent of the time, according to the South Carolina Policy Council, a non-partisan public policy research foundation.

On many bills, voice votes are fine; without them, we’d get bogged down on less critical legislation.  However, on significant spending bills, it’s time to make us more accountable by asking for roll call votes.

A bill requiring that kind of vote will be introduced in the House and the Senate by other authors, but I will be one of the first to sign on.  It’s a good idea whose time has come.

The budgeting process is important because how much funding we assign to each area of state government literally defines almost every activity and service that goes on in state government.

However, until the bill passes, I’m going to demand a roll call on each bill that requires a significant expenditure of state funds.  As you can imagine, roll call votes provide instant accountability.

These steps – requiring names on earmarks and roll calls on major spending bills – are critical steps to bringing some trust back into state government.

Too often, I hear you say that you don’t trust politicians, and who can blame you?  We have set up systems that allow us to hide the truth from you.  If you can’t trust us to handle our duties openly, I can’t expect you to trust us with the content of potential laws that directly impact your life.

There’s more – a lot more – we have to do to improve state government.  However, I believe in giving you more information while holding politicians accountable.  I know you demand no less.

Contact Me
As I always say, if you have opinion on these issues or any others, you can contact me by telephone (803-480-0419), email (shanemassey@scsenate.org), or regular mail (P.O. Box 551, Edgefield, SC 29824).  Or just pull me aside when you see me.

Improving state government translates into better ways to improve the lives of citizens.  It’s time to remove the cloaking tactics from the politicians and return the gold medal of transparency in state government to you.






For all past articles please visit our Archives

 © Copyright 2008 EdgefieldDaily.com  All original material is property of EdgefieldDaily.com and cannot be reproduced, rewritten or redistributed without the expressed written permission of Edgefield Daily.com




Space

Reserved


Above ad not linked



This ad not linked





Space available





Parting Shots
A new book by Columnist Carl Langley

-------

JAM Straight Customs


NOTICE:
We still need recipes for Cooking Section

WEBNEWS –  Send in your favorite or favorites. There is no limit to the number of recipes you can send in. With the Editor’s wife being the driving force behind her own personal section, help her create an exchange of local favorites, home cooking, grilling, sauces, and deserts!  Send in your submissions here.