Local Sunlight


This week I have highlights from South Dakota, Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

South Dakota War College reported that the South Dakotans for Open and Clean Government ballot committee has gathered enough signatures to place the South Dakota Open and Clean Government Act on the November ballot. This legislation contains the following provisions:

Taxpayer funds could not be used to lobby or campaign for partisan political agendas, including increased taxes.

Legislators and their staff would be unable to use their legislative positions to secure a “golden-parachute”, state-contracted job.

The “pay to play” system — where state contracts are traded for campaign donations — would be outlawed.

A simple, searchable website with information on all state contracts over $500 (excluding employment contracts), would be launched so citizens can know how their money is being spent.

War College also highlights some of the features of Legistorm including a map of the travel that Sen. Johnson and his staff have taken.

South Dakota Watch has a great post about how much openness in government is too much and what should be considered bad transparency. This is in response to a article in the Argus Leader about the crimes that Sioux City Council candidates some of which are just traffic violations.

BillHobbs.com, in Tennessee, wrote a great post about his efforts to get the state of Tennessee to respect his Open Records request regarding a tape of construction being done at the governor’s mansion. Even though the tape is state property and should be available under open records laws, the governor’s office wouldn’t let Mr. Hobbs obtain a copy of the tape unless he pays $200 for a DVD.

In New York, Room Eight reports that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has formed fake organizations, that she can report to the council during budget enactment, that receive state money. Then for next year use the money given to the fake organizations to do political favors.

In Pennsylvania, Policy Blog, is responding to an interest discussion on whether the budget process is legitimate if legislators list programs to be funded and then let the governor decide which ones get the money.

In Delaware, Down with Absolutes goes through the process of winning a state contract.