To the Editor:
With respect to your editorial "Practices that Undermine Public Trust" (March 21) noting findings by an organization called the State Integrity Investigation, there are certainly ideas in their report that ought to be considered for improving the transparency and accountability of Virginia's government. However, before readers draw the conclusion that Virginia's politics is less than honest, it should be noted that the study examines the scope of existing state laws and practices related to public integrity, not actual instances of corruption. This leads to some unexpected results in the study.
For example, while Virginia is ranked among the worst states (47th) for "vulnerability to corruption," New Jersey is ranked the best. With all due respects to New Jersey and other highly ranked states, it's easy to suppose their public integrity laws are the most expansive among the 50 states perhaps because they need to be as a result of a history of government malfeasance. I hope readers will examine the study at www.stateintegrity.org as you suggested for more information.
One other point mentioned in your editorial is that subcommittee votes in the General Assembly are not recorded and not available to the public. That's true for the Virginia Senate but not the House of Delegates. Subcommittee votes in the House of Delegates are recorded when there is a motion to report a bill to the full committee (and likewise from the full committee to the House floor). As a result of legislation I introduced last year along with Del. Mark Keam (D-Fairfax), all recorded subcommittee votes (and recorded full committee and floor votes) in the House of Delegates are available on-line. They can all be found here: http://services.dlas.virginia.gov/webservices/frmLISVotIng1.aspx. Readers should be sure to use the look up feature to find the name of the delegate whose record they want to review.
Member, Virginia House of Delegates