California Senator Introduces Government Transparency Bill

Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, introduced a bill Monday to strengthen transparency measures in all state agencies, including the High-Speed Rail Authority. Senate Bill 53 would require state agencies to make all committee meetings public and stop them from using a loophole that allows them to have meetings “behind closed doors,” according to officials. SB…


In 2019, Another Chance to Fix the Texas Public Information Act

It’s been three years since Enrique Iglesias walked away from the Rio Grande Valley holding a proverbial sack full of taxpayer cash. He got the money in 2015 for crooning in the city of McAllen’s annual holiday concert and parade, a boondoggle that saw taxpayers losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. City officials still refuse to tell…


Analysis: Mississippi Legislative transparency a matter of perspective

A Republican leader of the Mississippi House says the Legislature operates more transparently now than ever. But a longtime Democratic senator says the Legislature falls short of even its own past practices of conducting public business out in the open. House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden of Meridian and Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory presented…


Spokane-area Reps. Shea, Volz on group studying open records for Washington Legislature

Two Spokane-area representatives were named to a group trying to develop rules for records the Legislature long believed could be kept private but a judge has ruled should be open to the public. Reps. Matt Shea, of Spokane Valley, and Mike Volz, of Spokane, are the House Republican Caucus choices to sit on a Public…


Recent legislative actions in Kentucky, Iowa and Washington demonstrate urgent need for state FOI and open government reforms

      NEWS RELEASE March 23, 2018 Contact: Daniel Bevarly  •  239.823.1811   Recent legislative actions in Kentucky, Iowa and Washington demonstrate urgent need for state FOI and open government reforms Existing laws directing state government transparency and accountability to residents are under threat. Three recent actions by state legislatures in Kentucky, Washington…


Editorial – Here’s how the Legislature can make Kansas a better place to live in 2018

Kansas legislators will gather Jan. 8 in Topeka for one of the most crucial legislative sessions since — well, since 2017. The truth is Kansas has faced one governmental crisis after another for much of this decade. Much of the blame lies with Gov. Sam Brownback and his conservative allies, who pushed through a tax cut in 2012 that…


Since last year, at least 40 lawmakers in 20 states have been publicly accused of some form of sexual misconduct or harassment

When Kirsten Anderson submitted a memo detailing her concerns about sexual harassment at the Iowa Capitol, she expected comments about women in the office – their sex lives, breast sizes and the length of skirts worn by teenage pages – to stop. Instead, Anderson was fired seven hours later from her job with the Iowa Republican…


S.C. Legislator: ‘Without transparency, there is no accountability’

“Sunshine is the best disinfectant,” state Rep. Weston Newton said.

Newton’s comments came this week after the state Legislature voted to amend South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act.

The Bluffton Republican said he is “delighted” that some much-needed changes have been made.

“We’ve been working on this for a number of years,” Newton said.

The act outlines how public bodies, such as state and local governments and school districts, comply with records requests from the public.


Transparency: Government minutes missing in action

We hear governments boasting all the time about their transparency websites and there is no question that the material that’s posted on the Internet is generally leagues better than in the past.

But we have a gripe. There is one transparency topic that appears to be in deep decline – the recording of meeting minutes for work that takes place in legislative committee meetings, advisory panels, commissions and task forces.