Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Petersen's transparency bill advances

Via State Senator Chap Petersen:
Local Government Committee Passes Bipartisan Government Transparency Bill

Richmond – Yesterday at the Capitol, the Local Government senate committee unanimously passed a bipartisan government transparency bill chief sponsored by Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax).

The bill was originally brought to Senator Petersen by Pat Herrity, who represents the Springfield District as a supervisor in Fairfax County. Herrity first became aware of a need for the legislation when he joined the Board of Supervisors in 2008 and started an initiative to put checkbooks online. The next logical step was contacting a legislator to draft a statewide bill to enact into law. According to him, “this is where it starts. We need to make people see how their money is being spent.” Although a Republican, Herrity recruited the support of Democratic Senator Petersen because of Petersen’s reputation for supporting open government and common sense solutions. “One of my goals as a state senator is to bring maximum transparency to our state and local governments in Virginia,” said Senator Petersen. Together they drafted SB 844, which encourages government transparency by allowing local governments to publish individual expenditures online for the benefit of the public.

“I would like to thank Senator Petersen for his leadership and moving this bill forward so that Fairfax County and other counties in the Commonwealth can let citizens see how the government is spending their tax dollars,” said Herrity.

Senate Bill 844 is joined by an identical bill in the House, HB 2155, that Senator Petersen is co-patroning with Delegate Benjamin L. Cline (R-Rockbridge).
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