Transparency is vital to accountability. Accountability is vital to democracy. We elect officials because we want them to work of us. It is a little hard to do that when they start shutting doors after they get elected.
The Iowa Senate has changed its rules for subcommittee meetings. Their subcommittee meetings no longer require 24 hours advance notice and no longer must be open to the public. Those standard rules were in effect for more than a decade. The removal of those rules was not done in the interest of serving their constituents. It was done to make it easier for them to do as they wish without listening to the informed concerns of the people they represent.
I know that I don’t have all the best ideas and can’t think of all the many ramifications and unintended consequences of my decisions. The same is true for legislators. The opportunity for the public to appear in a subcommittee brings collective knowledge, awareness and concerns to the attention of Iowa senators. They need to have the full picture of how their actions may affect the people that they represent. We need to insist on transparency.