(Minnesota) Rep. Paul Thissen Fights for Government Transparency


Minnesotans expect and deserve a government that puts them first, but too many people are disconnecting from a political process that they see as disproportionately benefiting the wealthy and well-connected.

 Minnesotans I’ve heard from are frustrated by a lack of transparency and sense that special interests are pulling strings behind the scenes. We owe it to those Minnesotans and all of our constituents to make our legislature more transparent and more open to the public – even if it causes discomfort for us as legislators.” ~ Rep. Paul Thissen, 2016

(Minnesota, Feb 2017) Speaker of the House, Paul Thissen (DFL, 61B) and Representative John Lesch (DFL, 66B) introduced a bill HF1065 to make the Legislature subject to the Minnesota Data Practices Act and the state’s open meeting laws. HF1065 as introduced – 90th Legislature (2017 – 2018)

In a Facebook post dated February 9th, Rep. Thissen wrote: “Today I introduced a bill to make the legislature subject to the Minnesota Data Practices Act and our state’s open meeting laws. For decades, the Legislature exempted itself from these laws.

Too many Minnesotans are discouraged and believe that state government is working for insiders and the well-connected rather than working – as it should – for regular people. I believe sunshine leads to trust and accountability. By opening the Legislature up to the same data practices and open meeting requirements we demand of all other elected officials, we can start rebuilding trust and create better laws too.”

 The bill would make ALL meetings and conferences held within the Legislature open to the public, with advance notice. Advance notice means that public will be informed of issues and proposals facing the Legislature; and be able to follow legislation or provide feedback. In the current system these discussions are too often held behind closed doors, meetings are rarely announced or the public is not generally unaware of what the Legislature is doing.

Opening meetings and conference to the public would also increase government transparency, and accountability. Another benefit is that it would also encourage increased participation from the public, and community leaders, in the Legislative process.

Provisions of the bill include:

Letters, emails and other communication and documents (but not individual constituent correspondence) will generally be available for public review;

All legislative schedules will be public so citizens know who their representative is meeting;

All meetings – including conference committees — will be open to all Minnesotans with sufficient advance notice to allow real public participation;

Requirements for transparent information and open meetings will be enforced “with real teeth”.

This bill builds on the legislative reform package Rep. Thissen introduced in January 2016, which can be read here: Rep. Thissen releases Legislative Reform Package to make Minnesota’s government more open and accessible to the public


Press Release Rep. Thissen introduces bill to subject Legislature to Data Practices Act (2/10/2017)

Minnesota Opinion: Kill Legislature’s ridiculous secret-meeting exemption (Duluth News Tribune)

Our Opinion: Support open government, transparency (Austin Daily Herald)

About EJ

Parenting Abused Kids (PAK) reflects the personal thoughts and opinions of "EJ" sharing her experiences of surviving domestic abuse and injustice in family court. PAK also includes news and informational articles about abuse and family court issues. The purpose of PAK is to raise awareness of the challenges domestic abuse survivors to rebuild their lives after experiencing domestic abuse, compounded with the struggles of ongoing family court litigation. PAK will also discuss and raise awareness about issues related to parenting children who have been abused, and often present with emotional and behavioral problems. Parenting Abused Kids is not affiliated with any professional group, political group, organization or religious affiliation. My sincere love and support goes out to abuse survivors and their children. I am so sorry for what you have endured, and pray your lives will be filled with the happiness you so deserve. Thank-you for visiting!
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