Op-Ed: Prop. 42 (CA) is chance for voters to make transparency a priority

Come June, you can send a message about transparency. Vote yes on Prop. 42. Tell local governments it's their responsibility to build — and pay for — a culture of openness. You can also strip from Gov. Jerry Brown, and any of his successors, the ability to gut the public records act by cooking up another cockamamie, disingenuous scheme to turn out the lights.

More

Group claims Missouri Rep. With Agriculture Ties Hopes To Block Public Access To Animal Health Records

The Freedom of Information Act is widely viewed as a successful piece of legislation that helps increase government transparency. But if Missouri State Rep. Jay Houghton (R) has his way, residents of his state will soon have significantly less access to the financial and health records of Missouri’s meat and agriculture businesses.

More

California Measure to make initiatives more transparent advances

A bill that would bring greater transparency to California’s century-old ballot initiative system was approved on Tuesday, April 22, by lawmakers on the State Senate’s Elections Committee. The Ballot Initiative Transparency Act, SB1253, authored by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D – Sacramento) was approved on a 4-to-1 vote and moves forward to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

More

Florida League of Cities President says Keep Florida Government in the Sunshine

When it comes to having an open-and-transparent government that is accountable to the people, Florida truly leads the nation. Since the Florida Government-in-the-Sunshine Law was enacted in 1967, Florida has served as a model for other states.

In a world where technological advancements have introduced even more material into the public record, we continue to be on the cutting edge of reforms.

More

New law would require open records compliance for N.Y. agencies

New state legislation is being drafted to require state agencies to comply with the section of the open-records law that calls for posting information online.

Part of New York’s Freedom of Information Law requires each state agency to maintain up-to-date “subject matter lists” — indexes of all records maintained by the agency — and to post them on the Internet.

A study by The Ithaca Journal of 86 state agencies, published in a March 15 Watchdog Report, found 79 agencies were not in compliance with that part of the law.

More

Allegheny County legislator seeks to make changes to Sunshine Act

Ever wonder what local government does behind closed doors at open meetings? If so, a bill currently being reviewed by state representatives aims to bring more transparency to executive sessions.

The bill was introduced by state Rep. Rick Saccone, a Republican representing Allegheny and Washington counties.
“I talked to people around the state and there’s great support,” Saccone said Wednesday during a public hearing before the House State Government Committee. “Everyone seems to see the need to reform executive session.”

More

California, Illinois Add Transparency Measures

Legislators in California and Illinois are working on transparency measures that would bring more of the public’s business out in the open. Yesterday, both houses of the Illinois statehouse passed a measure that will require state agencies to ensure that more information gets on to the state transparency portal faster. In California, a package of bills, known as the California Accountability in Public Service, or CAPS Act were proposed.

More

Editorial: Open government training for elected officials should save money

When folks are elected to public office — from local school boards to city councils to county commissions — many have little to no experience with state law regarding public access to government information.

#When the citizens (and media) seek information inadvertent mistakes are too often made because some elected officials simply don’t understand the who, what, where, when, why and how of the state’s open government laws.

#And, as a result, it costs taxpayers a lot to settle lawsuits.

More