Is Everything Transparent or Not?
Sandwich, MA—Today Tom Keyes, Republican candidate for State Senate in the Plymouth & Barnstable District, challenged Senate President Therese Murray to urge the Governor to release the parking records.
“Today I am asking the Senate President to urge the Governor to release the parking records for the State House garages. Taxpayers have a right to know if per diems are being properly collected or not,” said Keyes. “She says everything is transparent. Clearly, with the Governor withholding this information everything is not transparent.”
On May 25, 2012 Senator Murray made the following statement to the State House News Service: “Everything we do here is transparent.” “Everything the Senate does is transparent.”
“Will the Senate President stand up for the taxpayers?” asked Keyes. “If everyone is collecting per diems properly, then there shouldn’t be a problem releasing the records or setting up a camera.”
Keyes is highly doubtful that Murray will urge the Governor to divulge the secret parking records. During the recent budget debate, she continued to bundle amendments and failed to allow the budget to be in print for 24 hours before voting on it.
In May Keyes proposed a Good Government Plan which includes:
- End the legislative exemption from the public records law.
- Prohibit the passage of controversial items at informal sessions. Once a Senator or Representative has submitted a written objection to the respective leaders of their chamber, then that item cannot be taken up during an informal session. In previous years, Senator Murray tried to push through the controversial wind energy bill during informal session.
- Require the State Auditor to conduct a comprehensive audit of the legislature yearly.
- Stop the bundling of amendments. This will create more transparency within the legislative process and within our state budgets.
- End the legislative exemption for the Open Meeting Law.
- End the legislative exemption from the Fair Procurement Law.
- Require bills to be in print and online for 72 hours before voting on them. Last year the final version of the state budget was passed at the last minute. After it emerged from the Conference Committee, the bill was not in print for 72 hours.
- Subject the judiciary branch to the public records law for administrative records only.
- Require the Ethics Committee to be bi-partisan. Right now the membership of the Ethics Committee is bi-partisan but is dominated by the majority party. Keyes wants equal membership for the two parties. This will ensure accountability of legislators rather partisan perfunctory investigations. As it stands now the committee is just a rubber stamp for the majority party.
- Prohibit legislative members from serving in a leadership if he or she has been indicted. After Senator Jim Marzilli was accused of sexual assault, he was allowed to collect his extra pay as Chairman for months.
- Require that committee votes are recorded and published online.
- Prohibit felons from collecting pensions while incarcerated.
- Reform the public records law so the Governor’s administration and state agencies have to comply not avoid it. The Pioneer Institute has long complained about the lack of compliance with the public records law. “Simple requests can take a year or more to fulfill, search and reproduction fees climb into the thousands of dollars and government offices claim dubious exemption all leaving the public in the dark and denying their basic right to know.”
Keyes, 43, is in his second term on the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates. A two term Sandwich Selectman, he has also served on numerous boards and committees including: Water Quality Review Committee, Sandwich Economic Development Committee as liaison of the Board of Selectmen , Cemetery Commission, Assembly of Delegates Standing Committee on Economic Affairs, the 21st Century Taskforce to review the Cape Cod Commission and draft operational changes to the County Commissioners, President of the Cape Cod Selectmen and Councilors’ Association and Board of Directors, and member of the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Selectmen and Councilor's Association.
Keyes founded his private practice, Keyes Quality Systems in 1998, providing consulting and contract services in management, ethics and compliance. He and his wife, Melissa have two daughters, Madelynn and Julia.
For more information on Tom’s candidacy, voters can visit his website www.VoteKeyes.com