There is widespread disenchantment with Congress in America today — its job approval rating currently sits below 14 percent and hasn’t even topped 20 percent in almost four years.
A contributing factor in that disapproval is the fact that the actions Congress takes while doing “the people’s business” aren’t all that transparent to average Americans. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. Congress is actually considering several bills that would make it more transparent to the American public.
Making Time to Actually Read the Bills
This resolution would make it ‘out of order’ to vote on any legislation in the Senate until one day has passed for every 20 pages of text in the bill after it has been introduced. Plus one day for all remaining pages numbering less than 20. So, for example, if there’s a 75 page bill introduced in the Senate — it could not receive a vote until at least four days after it was introduced.
One Subject At a Time
This bill would require each bill or joint resolution introduced in Congress to embrace only one subject, and that subject must be descriptively expressed in the legislation’s title.
Publishing Everything Congress Passes and Expired Laws
This bill would require the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to make the U.S. Statutes at Large — which are all the laws and resolutions passed during each session of Congress — available to the public for free online in a searchable, non-proprietary format. Statutes at Large include expired and repealed laws, historical treaties, proposed and ratified constitutional amendments.
This bill would require Congress to change how it publishes legislation that’s introduced in order to make it easier to read and figure out what the bill does. When legislation amends existing laws, it would be required to show the entire section of law and what changes are proposed, rather than simply referencing the law to be changed in the bill text.
This bill would require that Congress ensure that all congressional documents and votes both in Congress and in committees are published in a searchable electronic formats.
Tell your reps
Would you like to see Congress adopt some of these proposals or have other ideas for making Congress more transparent?
— Eric Revell
Originally published on Tumblr