Believe it or not, there are bills that both respect taxpayers and enjoy enormous bi-partisan support. HB 11-1002 is a great example from the 2011 legislative session. State Rep BJ Nikkel worked with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and drafted legislation to “develop and maintain a publicly accessible, searchable, online database of its revenue and expenditure data.”
Due to the good work of Rep Nikkel and Senate Senator Mike Kopp, all 100 lawmakers voted yes.
The state currently maintains the Transparency Online Project, a user-unfriendly expenditure and revenue Web site, but CDOT is not part of the TOPs system because it maintains its own accounting system.
Transparency Czarina Amy Oliver Cooke provided input on the legislation and testified in favor of HB 11-1002. She has seen a preview and said the new CDOT transparency database could be the “gold standard” for all other Colorado transparency Web sites. Furthermore, CDOT willingly overcame the usual anti-transparency argument that it is just too expensive and utilized existing resources in order to comply.
The legislation requires the database be public by July 1, 2012, but our guess is that CDOT will make it available before that date. We look forward to seeing it.
Thank you to Representative Nikkel for her tireless work to bring transparency to state government on behalf of taxpayers, to CDOT for embracing this project and Senator Kopp for his leadership in the Senate.