Local Sunlight


I have been keeping track of local blogs that do a great job of informing people about what is happening in Congress, state level, and local level politics. These blogs provide valuable information and I am taking the time each week to point out some highlights from around the country. As promised, here is this week’s update on Sunlight in the states.

In Alabama, Left in Alabama talks about how Gov. Riley is going to support Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham’s proposal to post, immediately, on the state’s Web site all flights using state planes, including information regarding passengers, destinations, and the purpose of the trip. The measure even goes as far as to penalize lawmakers if they do not reimburse the state for private trips. I’m sensing a recurring theme, considering the New York ethics commission also recently commented on the use of state planes for political purposes.

In Hawaii, there have been some discussions regarding the definition of journalism because of a proposed shield law, which would legally safeguard journalists from disclosing the sources of both published and unpublished information in state courts, but would not offer the same protection for bloggers. The official Hawaiian House blog recently defined Hawaii’s reasons for this decision, which blogger Poinography disputed in a very good point-by-point rebuttal.

In Illinois, Woodfordtaxfacts.org has been keeping tabs on the progress of Woodford County’s official Web site, which, deserves kudos for providing RSS feeds and a eLibrary with minutes from County committees and the County Board. Woodfortaxfacts.org also deserves a tip of the hat for emphasizing that transparency and access are important so people can take ownership of their government.

Thanks to Tom Cusack for alerting me to his blogs, Oregon Earmarks Blog and Open the Government News and Issues. These are great examples of a local blogger working toward transparency.

Keep up the great work on the local level. My love of reading blogs cannot be squelched, so please keep recommending local blogs that do a great job talking about local level issues affecting government transparency, ethics and technology.