Recommendations Passed by Select Committee Implemented by Franking Commission
Today the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress applauded new updates to the official House Communications Rules and Procedures, which include a number of improvements to constituent communication introduced and passed by the Select Committee last month. The new updates, listed below, will go into effect today.
The Select Committee worked closely with the Committee on House Administration and the House Commission on Mailing Standards to craft recommendations that would allow for 21st Century updates to the way Members of Congress communicate with their constituents.
- Name Change - The House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards (also known as the Franking Commission) has taken steps to change the name to the House Communications Standards Commission
- Rules - Regulations governing franked mail and other communications content have been consolidated and simplified (found here).
- Approval Procedures - Requirements for Advisory Opinions have been updated to streamline the approval process
- Transparency - All Advisory Opinions will be available online for public review on the Clerk of the House’s Public Disclosure website: http://clerk.house.gov/public_disc/franked.aspx
“Since this committee began, we have committed to not only passing recommendations to make Congress work better for the American people, but to actually see those recommendations implemented,” said Chair Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Vice Chair Graves (R-GA). “We are grateful to our colleagues with the Committee on House Administration for working with us to craft improvements that will make a real difference in the way we connect and communicate.”
“I applaud Chairwoman Susan Davis and Ranking Member Bryan Steil for their efforts in updating and streamlining the rules by which members communicate with their constituents,” said Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). “It has been two decades since these rules were substantively updated, and since that time they have become woefully inadequate in today’s fast-paced digital environment. These new rules will enable members to communicate with constituents more quickly, allow members to write in the manner they actually speak, and importantly, will considerably increase public access and transparency through greater disclosure of official communications.”
“My goal since becoming Ranking Member of the House Administration Committee this Congress has been to make the House work better for Members, so they can more effectively represent their districts. A key component of that effort is ensuring effective communication between Members of Congress and their constituents,” said Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL). “I applaud Reps. Susan Davis and Bryan Steil for their work overhauling the outdated regulations that govern Members’ official communications. These updates will modernize and streamline communications, and I look forward to seeing them implemented in the House in the coming weeks.”
Last fall, the Select Committee held a hearing to examine the history of the congressional frank, how it’s been regulated and reformed over the last few decades, and opportunities for continued reform in the U.S. House. Since 1775 the franking privilege has allowed Members of Congress to send official mail to constituents, and the frank is highly regulated by law. But with constant changes to how people communicate with one another, there is often a need to reevaluate the rules and procedures governing congressional communication. Chair of the Franking Commission Susan Davis and Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration and Former Chair of the Franking Commission Rodney Davis both testified at the hearing. The Members shared the current work of the Franking Commission, improvements to the franking approval process that are being made, and reforms that are still needed.
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