The Oregon Legislature is set to adopt new rules that will make it easier to see how legislation is created and how the state does business.
Senate and House leaders expressed bipartisan support for the changes Tuesday during an annual meeting with press before the legislative session starts Feb. 1.
A major change in the rules is that anonymous amendments to bills will no longer be allowed. Legislators will have their names attached to amendments, and there will be an option to note if a lobbyist sponsored the amendment.
Read More… from Oregon Legislature to adopt transparency rules in 2016
Oregon government agencies may be jeopardizing public trust with slow responses to more complex public records requests and inconsistent use of exemptions, according to a state audit report released Tuesday.
The audit is part of the fallout from an influence peddling scandal involving Gov. John Kitzhaber and First Lady Cylvia Hayes. Auditors recommended that the state create an ombudsman position to “serve as an intermediary between the public and state agencies on complex records requests.”
Read More… from Auditor: Public trust at stake as Oregon agencies bungle records requests
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum late last month announced the formation of a Public Records Law Reform Task Force to review and recommend improvements to Oregon's public records laws. In doing so, she expressed confidence "that this representative group will provide real recommendations for the Legislature to improve transparency and access to information about our government."
Representative? Of what, exactly? Certainly not a broad cross-section of political thought, that's for sure.
Read More… from EDITORIAL: Oregon Attorney General’s skewed public-records task force
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's promise to pass public records reforms next year — fallout from the scandal that toppled Gov. John Kitzhaber — seemed to take on new urgency when Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum appointed a task force last month to take up the fight.
But Rosenblum's announcement came with some fine print.
Read More… from Biggest changes in public records, transparency may wait for 2017
Government officials across Oregon could get a clearer idea of when they can meet behind closed doors in 2016, when the Oregon Government Ethics Commission plans to begin a process to clarify state law on executive sessions.
The Legislature passed a law earlier this year to give the ethics commission authority to write administrative rules that will spell out how the state should apply the law on executive sessions. Continue…
Read More… from Oregon executive session rules under review
SALEM — Lawmakers in Salem love to repeat the quote attributed to Otto von Bismarck, that bill writing is akin to sausage making.
“I was talking to a friend and he said to me, ‘if you like laws or if you like sausage, it’s probably best not to see either one of them getting made’,” Rep. Ann Lininger, D-Lake Oswego, said during a committee meeting in May.
Read More… from Oregon – Bill extending records transparency to Legislature dies
First lady Cylvia Hayes used a private email account while she served as a policy adviser to Gov. John Kitzhaber, and that decision could make it more difficult for the public to learn about Hayes’ role in shaping state policy.
Media organizations and others have requested public records including Hayes’ email correspondence, since an Oct. 8 story in Willamette Week raised questions about Hayes’ pursuit of consulting contracts that dealt with the same topics on which she advised Kitzhaber.
Read More… from Hayes’ use of Gmail complicates press inquiries
Women in state government make about 88 percent of what men do, a disparity that crosses seniority levels, union membership and fields of work, an analysis by the Statesman Journal found.
The gap is narrower than the one that exists statewide, but Gov. John Kitzhaber requested in a letter sent July 11 that the Department of Administrative Services make closing it a top priority. The agency is now conducting its own internal study of men's and women's pay.
Read More… from Women paid 88 percent of men in Oregon state government
Government officials in Oregon have been fully transparent about just five of the state’s 19 economic-development subsidies, despite required reporting laws, shows an annual study released Tuesday.
The 14 other incentives either lacked required information or disclosed none at all, according to the Portland-based OSPIRG Foundation.
The report did acknowledge that the handful of programs with the most public details are among the most heavily tapped. They account for nearly two-thirds of Oregon’s $671 million in subsidy spending.
Read More… from Oregon business subsidies becoming more transparent, but data still incomplete, OSPIRG report shows
From The Bulletin: Four years ago, the Attorney General’s right-hand man on all issues dealing with government transparency created a comprehensive list of exemptions to the state’s public records laws.
He found more than 400.
Read More… from Push for transparency idles – Oregon’s public records law still full of exemptions