Washington, D.C. – Today, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, announced steps to make the Energy and Natural Resources Committee more transparent and easier to follow.
For the first time, the committee plans to broadcast all committee markups of legislation online, at the committee website, www.energy.senate.gov. Other steps include creating a new library of committee documents, prominently displayed at the top of the home page. That library will include letters, witness testimony, major policy speeches and other committee documents.
“One of the guiding principles of my career is that putting more information into the hands of voters is nearly always a good thing,” Wyden said. “I’ve worked to give Americans better knowledge about who is funding political campaigns and how the government makes life-and-death decisions. So it was a no-brainer to shed more light on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s business.”
“Transparency is a crucial component of good governance and technology makes it increasingly possible to increase the public’s participation in the government,” Murkowski said. “I welcome the changes the committee is making to better keep the public informed about our efforts on behalf of our constituents. The website and the live streaming of hearings is especially important to my constituents in Alaska, who don’t have the same opportunity to attend hearings in person.”
The new transparency measures were guided in part by the Sunlight Foundation’s recommendations for improving congressional committee websites and procedures. Sunlight praised the committee for adopting the new policies.
"Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Murkowski are creating a noteworthy model for how congressional committees should embrace transparency, said Daniel Schuman, policy counsel at the Sunlight Foundation. “By using the Internet to let the public see how the committee considers legislation and oversees government activity, the Senate Energy Committee is giving citizens greater opportunities to understand, evaluate and participate in how Congress operates."
The transparency measures include:
-For the first time, the committee plans to webcast all markups, and will continue to broadcast hearings online.
-The Committee will continue to announce hearings one week in advance and markups three days in advance. It will also post legislation scheduled for markup online 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
-The committee has created a new documents library, with a prominent location on its website, to serve as an all-inclusive landing tab for notable committee documents.
-The committee will release an oversight plan, with a general outline of oversight activities, by June 1, consistent with Sunlight’s recommendations.