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Transparency In Government Act 2008 (Revised)

10 section comments

Title II - Enhancing Public Access to the Work of Congressional Committees, Legislative Inforation, and Votes

Sec. 202. Posting congressional committee schedules online in a timely manner.

  1. House and Senate Rules are amended to add the following new paragraph:

    1. 'Congressional committees and subcommittees are required to post a schedule of all public hearings and markups on the their Web sites as soon as the schedules are made publicly available. The information to be reported includes, but is not limited to, the topic of the hearing or markup, including a reference to specific legislation when applicable, as well as witness names and prepared testimony as soon as available.'

Sec. 203. Posting of other committee information.

  1. Each standing and special committee of the Senate and House and each joint committee of the Congress, shall provide access via the Internet to publicly-available committee information, documents, and proceedings, including committee and subcommittee membership, bills, reports, and official and unofficial transcripts of committee meetings that are open to the public.

  2. Each standing and special committee of the Senate and House and each joint committee of the Congress, shall provide access via the Internet to audio and video feeds of each public hearing, markup or other special meeting of the committee.

  3. The Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate shall provide in a structured data format a complete list of all public committee proceedings.

Sec. 204. Full disclosure of non-emergency legislation online 72 hours before a vote.

  1. The rules of the House of Representatives and the Standing Rules of the Senate are amended by inserting the following:

    1. `(1) It shall not be in order to consider in the House or the Senate legislation or reports until 72 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays except when the relevant chamber is in session on such a day) after the text of such measure or matter (and, if the measure or matter is reported, the text of all accompanying reports) have been made available to Members, Delegates, the Resident Commissioner, Senators, and the general public pursuant to subparagraph (3);

    2. `(2) For purposes of this paragraph, a measure or matter is made available to the general public as of the time it is posted by the Secretary of the Senate or Clerk of the House on their respective Web sites in a format that can be searched by text.;

    3. `(3) Without further amendment before floor consideration, the full text of the measure of matter and each committee report thereon shall be posted continuously by means of the Internet in such a manner that they are conveniently accessible using existing technology, anonymously and at no cost, in a format that is easily searchable by text.;

    4. `(4) This rule may be waived by a vote of two-thirds of the Members voting, a quorum being present..

  2. Nothing in this resolution or any amendment made by it shall be interpreted to require or permit the declassification or posting on the Internet of classified information in the custody of the House of Representatives. Such classified information shall be made available to Members in a timely manner as appropriate under existing laws and rules.

  3. Sense of the House and Senate Regarding Amendments: It is the sense of the House that, standardized policies and procedures should be developed to require that proposed amendments that are major in size, scope, or cost be posted on the Internet for an appropriate number of hours.

Sec. 205. Full disclosure of conference reports, identification of new material in conference reports and openness in conference committee deliberations.

  1. IN GENERAL- The rules of the House and the Standing Rules of the Senate are amended by adding at the end the following:

    1. `(1) It shall not be in order to vote on the adoption of a report of a committee of conference unless such report has been available to Members and to the general public for at least 72 hours before such vote. If a point of order is sustained under this paragraph, then the conference report shall be set aside.

    2. `(2) For purposes of this paragraph, a report of a committee of conference is made available to the general public as of the time it is posted by the Secretary of the Senate or Clerk of the House on their respective Web sites in a format that can be searched by text.

    3. (3) This rule may be waived by a vote of two-thirds of the Members voting, a quorum being present.

  2. Clear Identification of New Material in Conference Reports- The Rules of the House and the Standing Rules of the Senate are amended by adding at the end the following:

    1. `The joint explanatory statement by a committee of conference shall separately identify and explain each provision of the report in violation of paragraph 2 or 3 of rule XXVIII of the Standing Rules of the Senate and, if possible, identify the Member who proposed such provision.'.

  3. Conference Committee Protocols-

    1. Conference Committees shall hold regular, formal meetings of all conferees that are open to the public or televised;

    2. All conferees should be given adequate notice of the time and place of all such meetings; and

    3. All conferees should be afforded an opportunity to participate in full and complete debates of the matters that such conference committees may recommend to their respective Houses.

Sec. 206. Electronic access to votes.

  1. The Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate shall post on the public Internet site of the Office of the Clerk or Secretary, respectively, a record, organized by Member or Senator name, in a structured data format, of the recorded votes of each Member or Senator, including the roll, date, issue, question, result, and title or description of the vote, and any cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office related to the vote; and

  2. Each Member or Senator who maintains an official public Internet site shall provide a clearly presented electronic link to the Member's individual recorded vote information described in paragraph (a).

Sec. 207. Creation of a legislative database.

  1. The Library of Congress shall offer an Application Programming Interface (API) to provide public access to legislative documents, bill status, and summary information.

  2. The Library of Congress shall provide bulk public data download capabilities for legislative documents, bill status, and summary information.

Sec. 208. Appropriation of sums to preserve congressional information.

  1. Such sums that are necessary shall be appropriated to the National Archives to create and archive a digital copy of congressional Web sites, including Member and committee Web sites, on a yearly basis.

  2. Such sums as are necessary shall be appropriated to fully support and expand the Library of Congress's Web services operations, including THOMAS, the World Digital Library, the Legislative Information Services database, the Office of Strategic Initiatives, and the Law Library.