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Conservative Reform Network
The Newsletter for Independent, Conservative Political Activists

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Conservative Reform Network

Open Records and Senator Folmer

Senate 10-Bill Package of Reform

Open Records Officers

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Dear Lowman,

Here I draw your attention to Senate Republicans package of Ten (10) reform bills. I also provide you with contact information of the Open Records officers for the Pennsylvania House and Pennsylvania Senate. I think that the Check Register of all checks paying ALL expenditures from ALL House and Senate Legislative Leadership Accounts, sometimes called Caucus Accounts, can be put online by executive order of Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Joseph Scarnati and by Speaker of the House Representative Keith McCall if they are sincere about transforming the culture of government.

You can view more posts on my blog.

Open Records and Senator Folmer

Legislative Leadership Accounts, Operations and Management, are referenced under changes to Senate Rules "Mike's Memo" of 12 January 18, 2009 from Senator Mike "Citizen Mike" Folmer. The Conservative Reform Network has advocated that the check register, that is, a list of ALL expenditures of ALL Legislative Leadership Accounts be put online, in electronic format, searchable. "Follow the Money" remains a good maxim.

Senate Rules
The Senate also approved rules for the new Legislative Session, including the broadcast of Senate floor activities, financial operating rules, and general rules. The rules are the same as those used for the 2007 - 2008 Session with the following changes:
Section XII: ensure compliance with the new Open Records Law; Caucus Operations accounts replaced Leadership Operations and Legislative Management accounts

Section III, paragraph 2: eliminated member reimbursements for apartment rentals in Harrisburg

Rule XVII(2): requires Senate committee votes and executive nominations to be posted online within 24 hours (the previous rules called for 48 hours)
The Conservative Reform Network thinks that ALL expenditures from ALL House and Senate Legislative Leadership Accounts, sometimes called Caucus Accounts, must be put online and that there is no need for drama and delay in the complex process of passing legislation and post the user name and pass code of government accounts, that is, public taxpayer accounts, just as any business routinely accesses its accounts online and organizes with QuickBooks. This is not rocket science. It is, in my opinion, stonewalling.

Senate 10-Bill Package of Reform

Members of the SENATE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS held a press conference on Wednesday, January 21, at 10:00 a.m. in the East Wing Media Center titled "Senate Republicans Introduce 10-Bill Reform Package to Change Culture of State Government"

The Conservative Reform Network will be following the progress of these bills which had passed last year in the Senate an were stopped by HOUSE DEMOCRATIC leadership. I think the stated objective of changing culture of State Government may be more rhetoric than reality. There are things the Senate Republicans could do immediately without the delay and drama of passing bills including posting all expenditures from its Caucus Accounts and revealing sponsorship of WAMS.

Roberta Biros of Mercer County Conservatives posts this, from a letter from her Republican Senator, with whom she is less than thrilled (she had asked if Senator Robbins would support the repeal of COLA bill, Act 51 of 1991. With overwhelming majority, these bills will pass soon, and the challenge will be in Democrat controlled House.
Here is the relevant portion of Senate Robbins' letter to Citizen Roberta Biros.

Brief descriptions of the bills:
-Increasing Penalties for Violating the Sunshine Law
-Procurement Reform for Consulting Contracts
-Prohibiting Bonuses for Commonwealth Employees
-Increasing Accountability Related to State Vehicle Use
-Creating an Online Budge Database
-Eliminating Sine Die Sessions
-Posting Government Salary Information Online
-Succession of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor
-The Taxpayer-Funded Advertising Transparency Act
-Improving Access to, and the Information in, State Plane Logs

Open Record Officers

The Pennsylvania Senate's Open Records Officer is W. Russell Faber. Instructions to citizens to obtain Senate Records are here.
In my view, the priority is to obtain the expenditures of the Legislative Leadership Accounts in electronic and searchable format. This should not be difficult or expensive. In essence, it is giving the public the pass code to the bank account.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Open Records officers are: 1) Brooke I. Lewis Right-to-Know Administrator 2) Michelle Chufe Leslie Democratic Caucus Open Records Officer and 3) John R. Zimmerman Open Records Officer and 4) Appeals Officer Reizdan B. Moore.

Instructions to make Right to Know Request

Right to Know Request form

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