Local Sunlight


This week I have highlights from Utah, New Mexico, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Arkansas.

In Utah, Jen’s Green Journal discusses the undeclared conflict of interest for State Reps. Mike Noel and Aaron Tilton. Reps. Noel and Tilton are both on the Public Utilities and Technology Committee and the Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee (apparently these are two different committees). The conflict of interest is that these committees are considering a motion that would approve building a nuclear reactor in Utah. The conflict is spelled out at Deseret Morning News “Rep. Tilton is an owner of Transition Power Development, a private equity group that has signed an agreement to secure water rights for a nuclear power plant. If approved by water regulators, the plant’s enormous water demands would be supplied by the Kane County Water Conservancy District, whose executive director is Rep. Mike Noel.” In other words these two lawmakers would benefit from the building of a nuclear reactor and should probably declare a conflict of interest.

New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan talks about how since Sen. Domenici, announced his retirement the Senate Ethics Committee has decided not to go to the next stage of the investigation into his involvement in the US Attorney General scandal.

South Dakota Politics blog has been talking about the farm bill recently and more specifically the $1.1 billion in subsidies that went to 172,801 dead people between 1999 through 2005. The discussion went into depth about whether these farmers were vampires or zombies. You be the judge.

In Tennessee, Nashville City Blogs talks about whether part of the comprehensive state ethics bill is constitutional. Attorney General Bob Cooper says that the section regarding the political activities of family members of the Registry of Election Finance is unconstitutional. The current law prohibits them from participating in campaign activities, running for office, and lobbying. AG Cooper said that these bans are too harsh since these activities don’t really convey a conflict of interest with the Registry of Election Finance.

In Arkansas, The Citizens Journal blog talks about how some Arkansas officials are being sued by two reporters for violating the state’s Freedom of Information Act by withholding information about which government computers were used to edit entries on Wikipedia. The complaint asks the officials to reveal what computers were being used to edit Wikipedia entries on Republican presidential candidates. It is an interesting case of Web 2.0 technology and how it affects transparency and FOIA.

That’s all I got this week. Thank local bloggers for shining the Sunlight.