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New Coalition Aims to Keep General Assembly Transparent

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There's a new coalition in town, and it aims to police the General Assembly and its policies so that citizens are always in the know. “Transparency Virginia” introduced itself to the public this week, and says it has a non-confrontational yet aggressive agenda to promote best practices in public accountability. 

Virginia Coalition for Open Government's Megan Rhyne says the legislative process isn't as open to the public as it should be. It's why Transparency Virginia was formed and will focus on three areas this year.

“One, meeting notice. Two, recorded votes. And three, consideration of submitted bills.”

The latter enables citizens to find out if a bill of particular interest is killed in committee without public input. Anne Sterling with the League of Women's Voters says numerous advocacy and nonprofit groups have joined the coalition.

“The more organizations who join us, the more committees we can cover. And we’re aiming at 100% coverage soon.”

And by doing so, they can keep an accurate account of how lawmakers voted during committee meetings—even if it's not recorded on the state website.  

“Transparency Virginia” already has more than a dozen members, including Virginia Organizing, the Virginia Education Association, the New Virginia Majority, and the Virginia affiliates of the AARP, ACLU, and the League of Women Voters.

Tommie McNeil is a State Capitol reporter who has been covering Virginia and Virginia politics for more than a decade. He originally hails from Maryland, and also doubles as the evening anchor for 1140 WRVA in Richmond.
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