By Another view

State Rep. Gail Griffin has figured out a way for Republicans and Democrats to get along and see eye to eye.

Rep. Griffin is the prime sponsor of House Bill 2221, which has sailed through two committees and last week received approval from all 60 members in the House of Representatives.

Now it’s on to the Senate and will most likely be signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey after that.

What is Griffin’s secret sauce?

Government transparency. HB 2221 will require town councils to publish “. . . A full and correct statement of all monies received into the treasury of the town since the last report,” no fewer than 10 days before a biennial election. The report will be published in the local newspaper, or if none exists, the information will be posted on the town website or available at no less than three public places.

The report will also require town councils list the sources of the revenue, the expenditures made by the town and which accounts were drawn upon to make those expenditures.

We’re pleased to see our state representatives are unanimous in their support for Rep. Griffin’s bill, and we’re proud that she’s the sponsor of this initiative. Standing up for government transparency is always a good thing.

For governing bodies at all levels, transparency is an assurance of accountability, which in turn is the best antidote for corruption. Constituents have a right to know how their government is spending public money and where that revenue is coming from. Elected and public officials will be more mindful of making sure they are serving the public’s interest when they are held accountable for how the money is being spent.

Rep. Griffin’s bill is an assurance of transparency, but it’s not a guarantee that town councils will conform to “best practices.” That’s the role of an engaged citizenry.

Regardless of how many laws are written and passed by the Arizona Legislature, making public officials accountable requires constituents to be informed on the decisions being made by their local government and speaking out when they feel compelled to get involved.

A good law on transparency is a good step, but good governance still requires citizens to play an active role.

Reprinted from Sierra Vista Herald/Review

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