Executive Branch Transparency in Testimony Act


This model policy requires state agencies to provide legislators and other officials a full disclosure of whether or not the legislation or policy is a requirement of federal grants. It also compels the agency to provide a source (or links to such source) used as the basis for their support for the legislation or policy. Requiring the agency to provide the sources justifying advocacy gives lawmakers the information needed to establish whether the information provided by the agency has a research base to support it or is simply the opinion of the agency.

Executive Branch Transparency in Testimony Act

Section 1. Preamble:

WHEREAS, the Framers established, and the States ratified, the United States Constitution for purposes of protecting our rights and ensuring that citizens direct the course of government; and

WHEREAS, in order to preserve liberty, the constitutional structure rests on a system of dual sovereign governments; and

WHEREAS, under that structure, the federal government is intended to have limited powers, with the broader, residual powers being reserved for the states or the people; and

WHEREAS, the state constitution vests authority to control state taxation and appropriations and to establish laws governing state programs and policies in the state legislature; and

WHEREAS, federal funding to a state in the form of grants often requires the state to surrender powers to the federal; and

WHEREAS, many such federal grant programs require the state to conform state law to policies and programs preferred by the federal government; and

WHEREAS, the federal government often subverts the authority of the state by entering into grant agreements directly with state executive agencies without the consent, or even knowledge, of the state legislature or governor; and

WHEREAS, state executive agencies may advocate before the legislature for the adoption of legislation required as a condition of accepting federal grants; and

WHEREAS, the legislature should have full information about the advantages and disadvantages of such legislation and about the motivations of state executive agencies in proposing or supporting them.

THEREFORE, the legislature establishes the following requirements that executive branch agencies must follow in testifying or advocating for policies supported or required by the federal government in connection with federal grants.

Section 2. Any official of an executive branch agency, or instrumentality or contractor thereof, who appears before or otherwise communicates with any legislative committee or other legislative, executive, or independent board, commission, or council to advocate for a policy that is required as a condition of receiving a grant, whether from the federal government or from any other source,- shall reveal in his or her communications, either written or verbal, that the policy is required or encouraged by the grant.

Section 3. Any executive branch agency communication described in Section (I) shall reference a source, including but not limited to research studies or analyses, or provide a webpage address containing such sources, for any statement of fact contained in such testimony or communication and supporting the policy or program that is the subject of the communication. If such a source is not available, the agency must include in its communication, either written or verbal, that the information provided is solely the opinion of the agency.