Pittsburgh, Pa. − August 9, 2021 − Today, Senator Lindsey M. Williams introduced legislation that would require that all legislative expenses be published online in an easily searchable format. This legislation is part of Senator Williams’ continued push for greater transparency within the Senate specifically and the state government as a whole.
Recent news has made no secret of the fact that legislative spending is opaque on its best days and downright impossible to navigate on its worst. “In March 2020, I became the first and only Pennsylvania Senator to publish all of the expenses that I has approval over in a searchable format on my website. This list is updated monthly,” said Senator Williams. “But it shouldn’t be up to individual Senators or House Members to make this decision. Legislative expenses are taxpayer dollars and the public has a right to know how that money is being spent.”
To address this issue, Senator Williams introduced legislation requiring that the Chief Clerk of the Senate, the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, and the comptroller of the House of Representatives post a quarterly list of all per diems and other expenses on a publicly accessible website. Senator Williams also introduced a resolution that would amend Rule 12 of the Financial Operating Rules of the Senate, requiring the same posting of expenses, but only for the Chief Clerk of the Senate. This resolution could be passed with a simple majority vote in the Senate chamber. “Senate leadership has pledged to make financial transparency a priority since the beginning of this Session,” said Senator Williams. “This Legislation ensures that taxpayer dollars are accounted for in a way that makes sense and is easily accessible to our constituents.”
In addition to her efforts around expense transparency, Senator Williams, along with Senator Katie Muth and other members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, has pushed for a significant overhaul of the Senate Operating Rules. This Rules Reform legislation focuses on advancing policy, ensuring government transparency, encouraging public participation in the legislative process, and holding Senators accountable to the public.
Senator Williams also hosts an ongoing event series titled “Demystifying Harrisburg” which aims to make state government more accessible to everyone. These series includes installments on “How to Talk to Your Legislator,” “Knowing the Rules and Tracking Legislation,” “The Budget Process,” and “Requesting Information from State Government and Media Coverage of State Government.” You can find more information about upcoming installments or watch previous videos at SenatorLindseyWilliams.com/DemystifyingHBG.