Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty

Transparency Around the Country by maliab
July 6, 2011, 4:17 pm
Filed under: Hawaii Sunshine | Tags:

Politicians have a funny relationship with transparency.  They realize that they have to at least pay lip service to it in order not to hurt their standing with the public.  After all, “I’d rather not give you too many details about my activities with your money,” isn’t the best campaign slogan.  But when it comes right down to it, no matter how many policies and laws are put into place, some people seem to have an awful hard time abiding to the spirit (or even the letter) of transparency.  A quick round-up of some interesting transparency issues around the country (courtesy of the Sunlight Foundation):

Politics of disclosure is at play in Minnesota. A conflict on what should and should not be disclosed is brewing between the Governor’s office and the legislature. Local open government award recipient Rich Neumeister, who is certain there is secrecy in both state and local government in the state is making some suggestions: make data public; including all communication between the governor and the legislature. A legislature expert himself, Neumeister is well aware that it may not be under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, but it is still answerable to the public and should therefore be transparent. Details on Open Secrets.

Details on the value of tax breaks in Oregon will now soon be available for the public to see. The state’s governor, John Kitzhaber has signed into law, House Bill 2825, which will require all information on tax breaks given to business — including their names, addresses and the reasons why they are receiving the breaks — to be posted on this website. According to Mark Robyn, the breaks have been likened by policy wonks, to government spending even though they receive less oversight. Nonetheless, taxpayer watchdog and consumer advocacy groups are welcoming the transparency news on Tax Policy blog.

Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire will now continue to withhold records from a public records request under the rubric of the executive privilege. In a superior court ruling, over a lawsuit filed by the Freedom Foundation against the governor, a judge ruled that the executive privilege, that exempts the governor from disclosing public records does apply. Dennis Box blogs that a follow up ruling to decide if the executive privilege is indeed part of 300-plus recognized statutory exemptions in the Public Records Act has been scheduled. More on News Notes.


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