The Senate Rules Committee killed a bill today that would have put legislators’ voting records online. The House passed freshman Republican Jim LeMunyon’s HB778 overwhelmingly. But the Senate Rules Committee—overwhelmingly Democratic, incidentally—barely allowed it out of subcommittee, and then killed it on a 13-2 vote. Officially, they think it’d just be too darned hard to put that data on their website. Which, the Roanoke Times editorial board points out today, seems unlikely, given that I’ve provided that very data on Richmond Sunlight for several years now, in the form of spreadsheets downloadable from any legislator’s page on the site. Realistically, they likely killed this because they don’t want their voting records to be available for opposition research.
Anyhow, just to stick a thumb in the eye of Senate Democrats, this evening I put together an HTML version of the same data, making it easier for folks to access and for search engines to index. It took me—no kidding—about twenty minutes. (For example, here’s my senator’s 2009 voting record.) As always, every scrap of legislative data on Richmond Sunlight comes directly from the legislature’s website, so I don’t have access to any special fairy dust that the Senate doesn’t have. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I don’t care who’s in charge of the legislature, transparency is essential. Any Democrats who thinks I’m going to go easy on them had best think again.