I went to the Capitol last Thursday to testify at one of the House Appropriations subcommittees. I was there to testify on some budget recommendations we had made for a state agency. The subcommittee met all day long, from 8 a.m. until after 6 p.m., with a short break while the House of Representatives was in session. It took testimony from state officials and employees throughout the day on different agencies and their budgets.
However, the public wasn’t allowed to testify at the time when an agency was examined by the committee. Instead, the public was allowed to testify only at the end of the day after all of the “official” testimony was completed on all agencies. It didn’t matter if a citizen wanted to testify on the Racing Commission that was examined at 8 a.m.; she had to wait until the end.
No wonder that when the end finally came at 6:17 p.m., there was only one member of the public who stayed to testify. This is open government at work.
– Bill Peacock