Opinion: Transparency crucial in state contracting

Given the large shortfall facing lawmakers this year, one might think they would try to reduce potential waste, mismanagement and corruption regarding expenditure of taxpayer dollars. Instead, lawmakers passed a bill that would have reduced oversight of some multimillion-dollar contracts.

Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed the bill recently, and deserves credit for demanding greater accountability in government contracting.

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Virginian-Pilot editorial: Be a force for openness in government

It’s optimistic to believe that this (or really any) legislative session in Virginia will make a turn toward openness and away from punching holes in the law that ensures public access to documents and meetings.

But maybe, just maybe, this could be a session where lawmakers choose to hold the line on those principles and act with deference toward the people’s right to know.

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Transparency committee: N.Y. Senate cellphone ban violates Open Meetings Law

The executive director of the state Committee on Open Government really took to heart Sen. Brad Hoylman’s Friday request for an “expedited” advisory opinion on the question of whether or not the state Senate’s new rule barring the use of cellphones as audio, video or photographic recording devices within the chamber and its public galleries without the permission of the Senate secretary violates the state’s Open Meeting Law.

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Texas Lawmakers file bills to eliminate loopholes in public info law

A pair of lawmakers filed bills Tuesday to lift the curtain of secrecy on taxpayer funds spent by private companies and organizations that was allowed by separate Texas Supreme Court decisions. The bills by state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, and Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, would overturn provisions sanctioned by the high court that allowed final contract details and bids on public contracts to remain secret. The bills also would require disclosure of funding details to private organizations and entities in all cases, not just those sustained by public funds.

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Florida Lawmakers pass 13 open government exemptions

Florida lawmakers approved 13 new open-government exemptions and re-enacted seven existing exemptions during the annual legislative session that ended last week, according to the First Amendment Foundation, which tracks the issues.

The bills included exemptions (SB 200 and SB 7040) for:

– Email addresses held by county tax collectors and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Continue>>>
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Open Meetings Act bill inspired by Oakwood Hills moving in Illinois Senate

State Sen. Dan Duffy is fighting to move forward a bill to reform the Illinois Open Meetings Act in the wake of a closed-session debacle over a now-scuttled proposal for a power plant in Oakwood Hills.

House Bill 175 seeks to create a two-year statute of limitations on the ability by the public to report potential violations of the act within 60 days of their discovery. The bill, filed by state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Lake Barrington, passed the House a month ago on a 110-0 vote, and has now moved to the Senate Executive Committee.

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Editorial: Budget or no budget, process still stinks in NY State

An incredible amount of money ó about $140 billion ó is on the line. Teacher evaluations, tighter ethics laws for lawmakers, higher education and school funding, environmental cleanup money and much more are all getting hashed out behind closed doors in Albany these days.

It is an unseemly, sullied process, rarely leading to the best deal.

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Proposals Put Florida Sunshine Law Under Siege

Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law is getting a little cloudy from three dozen bills that, if passed, would create exceptions ranging from not disclosing finalists for top state university and college jobs to exempting addresses and other information on all former and active members of the military.
 
For average citizens, it means less information on a wide range of issues to which they have had access for at least five decades. That also means less opportunity to have a say in issues or decisions being made that affect them.

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Editorial: Budget or no budget, process still stinks in NY State

An incredible amount of money — about $140 billion — is on the line. Teacher evaluations, tighter ethics laws for lawmakers, higher education and school funding, environmental cleanup money and much more are all getting hashed out behind closed doors in Albany these days.
 
It is an unseemly, sullied process, rarely leading to the best deal.
 

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