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House Rules Transparency Victory

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While we're still waiting to see the draft copy of the House Rules from the incoming majority today, we're now hearing some of the provisions that will be included in the draft.

Many of these provisions are just what Sunlight has asked for in our proposed Rules reforms.

First and foremost, it looks like a 72 Hour Rule will be included in the House Rules. "In Electronic form" will be the way the online requirement is phrased, and all bills will need to be available to the public "in electronic form" for three calendar days before a vote. This will be a huge victory for the ReadtheBill movement, and for transparency in the way the House considers legislation.

Also, committees are going to be posting far more information online. It's going to become much easier to follow along as committees pursue their work, and to know what's going to happen, online, before it happens. Committees will be required to post notice of markups three days in advance, post committee votes online, post amendments online, post disclosures about witnesses who testify, and webcast hearings and markups.

Again, many, many of these changes are contained within our Rules recommendations, and we're elated to see so many of them included in this Rules draft. While the devil is always in the details, and implementation of these kinds of changes can be tricky, these are the kinds of changes that can change the way citizens relate to the legislative process online.

Update: Also worth reiterating: the Office of Congressional Ethics will continue its operations in the 112th Congress. Even though Boehner opposed its initial creation when it was first formed, the independent Ethics watchdog will continue its vital work. This is fantastic news.

Update 2: Here is Speaker-Designate Boehner's tweet about the 72 Hour Rule: http://twitter.com/#!/GOPLeader/statuses/17584517178986496