Broad Coalition Offers Chance for Candidates to Publicly Support More Transparent, Accessible Legislative Process
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Alarmed that the remaining candidates to be the next Speaker of Maryland’s House of Delegates have so far not responded to a candidate questionnaire sent on April 18 requesting each candidate’s position on legislative good governance principles – transparency, accessibility, and decentralization of power – a broad and large coalition of advocates, social justice organizations, and community leaders are speaking out about the importance of strengthening our state’s legislative process.
- Accessibility. How would the candidates ensure civic participation and governmental accountability? Many Marylanders who are eager to engage in our civic processes are currently unable to do so because of existing structural and technological barriers. Many people cannot afford time away from work to travel to Annapolis and spend the day, and for some Marylanders with mobility challenges, physical presence to observe meetings and voting sessions is simply not practical.
- Transparency. How would the candidates make it easier for Marylanders to know what is in a bill and how their state legislators voted? Another problem is a deeply troubling trend of multiple pieces of legislation—often unrelated and even with opposing intent—being combined into a single bill. This blocks Marylanders from knowing which provisions are supported or opposed by their state elected leaders.
- Decentralization of Power. How would the candidates address the concentration of legislative power that results from some delegates holding multiple positions? This harms Marylanders whose representatives have not occupied leadership roles, and is exacerbated by the lengthy terms for which individuals occupy leadership roles. The questionnaire also asks the candidates whether they will appoint chairs and vice chairs of committees who have demonstrated a commitment, through actual policy-making, to economic, social and racial justice.