Saturday, February 7, 2009

Huelskamp advocates government transparency at all levels

When it comes to government transparency, Republican's continue to lead the state in innovative, practical ideas. I'm happy to say Sen. Huelskamp is among those leaders.

A recent Kansas Liberty article outlined Senate bill 226 which would require all Kansas school districts to post their spending data online in a searchable database similar to KanView. According to Liberty:
"KanView was an outgrowth of an amendment offered by Huelskamp during the 2007 legislative session. Formally called the Kansas Taxpayer Transparency Act, it required the state to develop a searchable, publicly accessible website reporting the financial activity of state government. It was the first effort of its kind in the nation."
With over half of our state budget going to K-12 education, it is certainly time for the taxpayers to know how their money is being spent.

In addition, Huelskamp’s proposal, Senate Bill 226, would require the Legislature to provide a concise, easily reviewable listing of legislative votes.

“In order to hold us accountable, our citizens need quick, easy access to our voting records,” Huelskamp said. “But with the current legislative website, it is nearly impossible to track legislative votes. Instead, this bill would provide for simple, daily Internet updates of our voting records to allow constituent review and criticism.”
This is certainly something I can't wait for. It's unacceptable that in 2009 a Kansas citizen can't find out how their Representative or Senator voted.

I'm looking forward to seeing more of Sen Huelskamp's practical, common sense proposals once elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.


Miss Anonymous said...

Huelskamp has been in the Senate for 12 years, and he's just now noticing that tracking members' votes is, for the general public, almost impossible?

Really, Timmy? Could you be any more obvious in your pandering?

- Dan said...

Ah. I have something legitimate to contribute to this conversation.
I am a member of the Kansas Press Association, and therefore interested in promoting transparency of government. Within that topic, Huelskamp was known as a friend to open government and transparency. So this is not an election season effort by any means.
Honestly, I don't know why all politicians aren't friends of transparency. It seems like they all like the idea of open government right up until they get elected, and then many feel like they want to keep things covered up. This is true for everyone from local school boards and city councils up to the highest levels of politics. I can't stand the cover up. What do they have to hide?

Miss Anonymous said...


Got some examples? Some specific bills he's sponsored and gotten behind and pushed? You know, something more than lip-service and spin?

Take your time.

Anonymous said...

"KanView was an outgrowth of an amendment offered by Huelskamp during the 2007 legislative session. Formally called the Kansas Taxpayer Transparency Act, it required the state to develop a searchable, publicly accessible website reporting the financial activity of state government. It was the first effort of its kind in the nation."

Reading: It's not for everyone...

- Dan said...

Miss Anonymous doesn't believe me.
The KPA's legislative director Rich Gannon told me that Huelskamp was a friend of transparency. Gannon spends much of his time on this issue for KPA, whether it be keeping public notices connected to private oversight, preserving open meetings laws or whatever.
Gannon was a Kansas Senator for 11 years, I believe. And he was a Democrat (which should be a qualifier for you, right?)
I'll let Farmer Joe find out any specifics if he wants. I don't have the time, because I'm not campaigning for Huelskamp, merely stating some information.

farmerjoe said...

Actually I think you've done a wonderful job Dan, as well as the anonymous commenter who was kind enough to remind everyone what was in the Kansas Liberty article.

In addition to SB226, KanView and Dan's comments, perhaps these articles will highlight Sen. Huelskamp's ongoing involvement in open government advocacy.

The Newton Kansan, Jan. 14, 2006:

TOPEKA (AP) - A coalition honored the Senate Elections and Local Government Committee's chairman Friday as a friend of open government.

Sen. Tim Huelskamp , R-Fowler, received the award from the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government because of his work on proposals designed to strengthen the state's Open Meeting and Open Records acts . Huelskamp 's committee handled those proposals.

Huelskamp was first elected to the Senate in 1996.

"Whether you're liberal, conservative, classify yourself as something in the middle, open government is open government," John Lewis, a coalition board member and publisher of The Legal Record in Olathe, said during a news conference. "It's self-explanatory."

One change enacted last year clarified that a public employee's total compensation, including employment contracts or agreements, would be subject to public scrutiny.

Also from a guest editorial by Randy Brown, executive director of the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government.

Hutch News, March 12, 2007:

It is the non-partisan issue of our time, drawing supporters across the political spectrum. Recent winners of the Sunshine Coalition's Friends of Open Government Award include such political opposites as Kansas Sens. Tim Huelskamp , R-Fowler, and Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka.

Thanks for your comments Dan, you gave me a perspective I wasn't aware of before. I'm sorry not everyone has been able to add constructively to the conversation like you've been able to do.

Anonymous said...

Oh, poor Miss Anonymous, looks like you've been found out to be the liar we all knew you were.

Miss Anonymous said...


I never said I didn't believe you. I said I wanted proof, you know, evidence and all that, of Timmy Huelskamp's commitment to open government. You (but mostly Farmer Joe) did just that, and congratulations!

But Miss Anonymous' first question still remains: Why did it take 12 years for Huelskamp to figure out that burying votes in the Journal is the most impenetrable possible method for citizens to track? I mean really. Twelve years!

Oh, Anon@2:23pm, if you could be so kind as to tell me exactly what my "lie" is? Or in your narrow little world, does asking for proof of a claim constitute lying?

Anonymous said...

Timmy! Timmy! Timmy!

How effective are you going to be at pulling this off being that you were stripped of your chairmanship? Get out of here. You have hurt Kansans enough, especially Dodge city

Anonymous said...

WOW! Timmy is going to advocate... the same thing Obambi has been pushing!

Tim, why don't you actually bring some economic growth to your district instead of being a little whiny pansy and getting kicked off your chairmanship because of it?

- Dan said...

Getting kicked out of chairmanship? Struggles with economic growth in Western Kansas?
I'm beginning to think you anonymous commentators are some of the east coast folks who have been donating to Wasinger's campaign, because you obviously have no clue what is going on in Kansas politics or with the Western Kansas economy.
I bet you're one of those folks who thinks Manhattan, Kansas, is a small town. It's all relative.