When Is a Transparency Bill Not a Transparency Bill?
When it’s used to hide unpopular legislation.
On Wednesday, the Missouri House took an otherwise laudable government transparency bill and used it to hide legislation that would create a government land bank in Kansas City. The transparency bill, S.B. 467, ballooned from just two pages to about 40 pages with the unwieldy amendment.
Some legislators continue to push the Kansas City land bank bill forward, despite the fact that a similar land bank in St. Louis City has failed spectacularly. The Saint Louis City land bank has a history of rejecting would-be buyers, and allowing area aldermen to have outsize influence over who is allowed to purchase vacant city property.
If Missouri legislators want to throw the land bank dice again in Kansas City, they’re free to do so, even in the face of St. Louis’ failure. But, perhaps they should do that in a more transparent way.
The irony of using a transparency bill to hide another bill 20 times its size would be funny, if it weren’t so sad.