Taking the initiative to increase legislative transparency

SB 151, Initiative Procedure Amendments, aims to bring greater financial transparency to statewide initiatives. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Deidre Henderson, requires applications for a statewide initiative to have the fiscal impact of the initiative and the sources from which the initiative will draw funding. These two pieces of information would be required to come from Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, a non-partisan branch of the legislature, instead of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.

The fiscal impact and funding sources will also be required to be placed at the top of the ballot to ensure costs are transparent and voters are thoroughly informed of the financial effects of a given initiative. During public hearings, 50 copies of the fiscal impact of the initiative would be required to be clearly displayed and available at the entrance of the room in which the hearing takes place.

If three or more sponsors feel the fiscal impact statement is invalid or inaccurate, SB 151 would also allow those sponsors to challenge the statement. This gives an extra check and balance should sponsors feel a statement has been given in error.

The bill passed both the House and Senate, and was sent to the governor for his consideration.

You can read or check out audio/video of the bill here.