Thank you Matt Visor at the Globe, for saying what I have been saying for months:
They are the type of meetings that would be illegal for boards of selectmen and city councils across the state. But because the Legislature is exempt from the state’s open meeting and public records laws, they are able to deliberate in private and guard key documents from public scrutiny.
Deliberations which occur in secret will neither heal the public’s lack of trust, nor prevent further tempatations and failures to act ethically by some legislators.
The shame of this is that most legislators have high integrity, great empathy, and sought election to make this Commonwealth a better place. Allowing important decisions to be hammered out only in secret creates a culture of temptation and secrecy.
We can do better. We must do better. Even if the Open Meeting Laws and Freedom of Information laws currently do not officially apply to the House and Senate – how about both legislative bodies show the courage and integrity to act as if they are held to the same standards as the Alderman of Somerville or the Selectmen of Arlington? Just because statutes were changed to allow the legislature to sink into the shadows decades ago, does not mean they must act this way.