Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Martinez' anti-archiving argument is nonsense.

When Rep Jeff Steinborn's HJM15 came to the table, Rep Ken Martinez stripped archiving from the bill. This may not have been the first time he has stripped Steinborn legislation of archiving.

He is on the House Rules Committee, where archiving was stripped from Steinborn's HR2.

I don't know that he was personally responsible for the stripping in House Rules, and there isn't anyway to check up on it because, there is no archive of the Rules Committee meeting to check.

He has offered up an argument of sorts. According to Blogger Haussamen, link;

Martinez has consistently argued against archiving. New Mexico isn’t a state whose courts considers legislative intent in addition to the actual wording of legislation, so he has said it’s important to not create permanent records other than the actual legislation.
Assuming one actually understood this argument, and further that, one even bought the argument; so what?

There are a number of reasons to begin archiving. At least one of those arguments is an overriding consideration, taking precedence over all other considerations. That argument is, the people have a right to watch committee meetings and floor sessions. And that right extends to being able to find and watch those meetings after the fact.

I have argued previously that incremental reform is dangerous because it has a mollifying effect. It might well have been easier to pass a decent bill, than it will be to improve a bad one.

Already, people are arguing that they have gone far enough. House Minority Whip Keith Gardner said, of the decision to kill archiving;
"... it is possible for constituents to record webcasts on their own using inexpensive software."
The people should not have to go out and buy special software to watch their government, even if it is "inexpensive".

There is no software, of which I am aware, that could record simultaneous committee meetings from different streams, making them both available for review. It is conceivable that more than two Committee Meetings might be going on simultaneously, further compounding the problem.

Gubernatorial Candidate Doug Turner argues; the only reason to not archive is to hide the truth from voters during the next election.

He is right. There is no overriding argument to not archive. There is an overriding argument to archive. It is as simple as that, and anyone who argues against archiving is arguing against creating a record of their service that can be shown to voters at the next election.

Every webcasting bill contains a statement to the effect of;
"... any political use is prohibited."
Sez who? If I were a candidate and the incumbent had performed poorly in Committee and/or on the floor, why in the world would I not be allowed to use a public record in my campaign against the incumbent? The resistance clearly comes from incumbents doing everything they can to cover their asses come election time. They know their performance in the Roundhouse is not going to help their candidacies, so they are simply trying to hide the truth. If they were at all proud of their work in the Roundhouse, they would welcome a permanent record of it, and they would want to use it in their campaigns.

There are some would be candidates who cannot summon the character and the courage to hold themselves honestly accountable to voters. These men and women will come up with one specious argument after another, to not archive; none of them powerful enough to make a real case.

photos Mark Bralley

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