This year, I worked on an interactive spreadsheet of the state budget, made available online so everyone could see the numbers the Legislature was working with. It was the first time this has been done in Hawaii.
Unfortunately, even as an employee acting on behalf of a representative, I had trouble getting honest answers about how much things cost. The cost or savings of every bill in the Legislature should be made easily accessible to the public because we deserve to know how much our government is spending and receiving.
I also believe that to create a more open and honest government, we need to put all votes on record and require adequate public notice on every bill up for a vote. In the 2010 session, I saw too many miscounted or unrecorded votes and last minute agenda changes -- even a last-minute change to the number of votes needed pass a bill -- to believe that the current rules are in the public's best interest.
I also think we need to establish term limits for legislators to ensure that they are focused on their constituents and not their careers. Term limits would also help us keep a constant flow of new ideas in the capitol.