Tag Archives: institutionalized

Institionalized Secrecy in Legislatorland

Closed-door meetings and private discourse are institutionalized in Legislatorland, perhaps fundamentally because of a provision in Article II, Section 22 of our state constitution that says:
“The doors of each House and of committees of the whole shall be kept open, unless when the business shall be such as ought to be kept secret.”
The constitutional call for open government, thus, is basically meaningless. Note, first of all, that this doesn’t cover anything except the full-attendance meetings of each house, the House and the Senate. Meetings as a “committees of the whole,” a procedure rarely used in modern times, means that all members of the House and Senate are present, but that they are functioning as a committee for procedural reasons.

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