State Transparency Roundup


While we work on more transparency for Congress it’s important to note that federal efforts for openness can have a positive effect on state government. On the flip side the states can take the lead on disclosure or they can be less open this makes them great places to see how transparency is valued. Let’s see what the states are up to:

Pennsylvania passed the Right to Know law that makes most government records public. There are 30 exemptions that would keep records sealed these mostly deal with safety and private information. People can request documents by mail, e-mail, fax or any other electronic means as provided by the agency. Response to requests shall be made within five business days.

Mississippi is in the dog house with a slew of new legislation that would close the door to the public by giving various groups exemption to the open meeting or public information laws. This includes exempting airlines from open meetings, judicial nomination advisory committee, also law enforcement.

The Washington senate approved legislation, senate bill 6818, that would require the state have a state expenditure website set up by January 2009

New York City has a Citywide Performance Reporting (CPR) online tool performance tracking tool that will help make City agency performance transparent and accountable. From this database you can find out how state agency’s performance is based on themes. Themes are groups of related government services.

Salary Database’s on a state level have become more prevalent. 15 states have databases that are maintained by local newspapers. Iowa, Georgia, and Oklahoma have state sponsored databases. WikiFoia has a great list of them all and where you can find them.