Time for more openness in state legislature

Late last month, it was reported that Gov. Tim Walz and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) were talking about the idea of subjecting the Minnesota Legislature to the Data Practices Act, which designates most public records as public information, with limited exceptions spelled out in the act.

Given the closed door negotiations that surrounded the state budget talks toward the end of the last legislative session, more openness and transparency might make for better lawmaking.

A spokesman for Gazelka told the Star Tribune that while the majority leader was willing to talk about the prospect, he wasn’t really welcoming to the idea.

Another lawmaker, Rep. Pat Garofolo, R-Farmington, said legislators get a lot of confidential information from constituents, and shouldn’t have to maket that all public.

Maybe so, but there should be some midddle ground somewhere between complete openness and shutting everyone out from serious legislative discussions and dealmaking.

Walz and Gazelka should keep talking and see if they can’t strike a workable plan to give more transparency to lawmaking.

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