Star Tribune Editor: A Legislature, behind closed doors?

  • Article by: NANCY BARNES , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 28, 2012 - 4:32 PM

That's not right. But that's what the One Minnesota conference was.

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tmrichardsonJan. 28, 12 5:13 PM

Good piece Nancy. However, the likelihood of any real action occurring at such a conference is low. I wish you would focus more scorn on how things typically work in the broken MN legislative system. After open committee meetings and open floor discussions going on from the start of a session until near the very end, decisions are made by small numbers of ranking legislators in rooms deep down in the capitol, late at night, out of sight and hearing by the public. This was even more true during the abbreviated and bizarre session end during state shutdown 2011. Most MN legislators don't even have a clue what is going on--and have no voice--in how decisions are made. That is a much bigger travesty for all minnesotans than being locked out of this no-decision conference is.

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hempforlifeJan. 28, 12 6:13 PM

One can only dream that they would be as transparent as Obama has with his administration.

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regionguyJan. 28, 12 7:21 PM

I have no idea if the closed nature of this event made the participants less likely to pander to their constituents along party lines and to posture for the media, but if it did, I would gladly make the tradeoff.

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wileyrulesJan. 28, 12 8:11 PM

Our legislature in action.

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fatherofsonsJan. 28, 1210:45 PM

Open editing of Bills. With the internet and lots of free software this is how the tech world operates (computer source code) and how many business operate with changes to their work procedures... The text of all initial draft work-in-progress bills must be "checked in" to the version control database before distributed to anyone. Then, any changes to the bill can only be made by "checking out" (think library), making the edit, and checking it back in. The author of the change, the date/time, and their reason are recorded with the edit to the bill. AND anyone (other legislators, and we-the-people) can subscribe to email (or RSS or Twitter) notifications of each and every change, or some selected subset. THAT way, all changes-and-who-did-it-and-when to the text of the bill, right up to voting are formal records for ever, and instantly available to everyone. No longer can someone sneak in a once sentence change in a 100 or 1000 page bill and change our property taxes or give some specific company a cash benefit..... THIS IS EASY TO DO. We just have to decide we want open editing of the "source code" that runs our state, country, county, city, etc. Start asking for all bill edits to be under version control with notifications..... And, we can also decide that a bill must not be changed for so many days before it can be voted on... think of it as the initial testing period.

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xorcistJan. 28, 1211:04 PM

Maybe the Strib should actually pine down the Repubs on their precise definition of "redesigning" government.

I think the way our government was setup to begin with has worked remarkably well all these years; no need to Repubs to tinker with it in to reduce tax revenue, environmental laws, and spending in their race to the bottom.

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doctorpepperJan. 29, 12 8:05 AM

Can't wait for next weeks opinion piece on the Obama Administrations openness and transparency - NOT. With promises of transparency they've done everything to hide every thing they do. Where are his college records? His medical records? All hidden and the Star Tribune doesn't ask. Maybe we should talk about the Star Tribune's lack of transparency?

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dakmarknetJan. 29, 1211:08 AM

Many of these commentators view Obama's admin as less open and transparent that previous admins. Yet not one can give evidence that is so. They appear to just spout inaccurate talking points of Repub lit and FOX news. This is a perfect example of sheep jumping over the cliff. Can't explain it they just follow the leader.

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luv2lisnJan. 29, 1212:31 PM

"Can't wait for next weeks opinion piece on the Obama Administrations openness and transparency - NOT. With promises of transpare..".....Can't wait to avoid the question and blame it on Obama. Hey yoyo, this is about the MN legislature and MN law, not Obama. Apparently these half baked yackels are so embarrassed about their legislative non performance they don't want anyone else to see them, can't blame them, they are accepting pay for not doing anything, apparently a requirement for republicans.

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kindaliberalJan. 29, 12 1:04 PM

If legislators aren't kept informed by leadership they do have the power to persuade leaders to inform them. Vote NO if leadership doesn't keep you informed. However, most legislators are just sheep to their party. It doesn't matter who sits in the seat because the legislator votes the same anyway, just sometimes has a different namecard on their desk.

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