Local Sunlight


Every week I climb into the depths of the local political blogosphere to find the Sunlight. I use this series to highlight local blogs that do a great job of covering local, state, and congressional political news.  This week I have highlights from North Carolina, Minnesota, Alabama, Washington, and New Jersey.

In North Carolina, Carolina Politics Online highlights Gov. Beverly Perdue’s desire to put a state spending database online.  North Carolina is about to release two Web site’s dedicated to the state’s spending, “One new Web site will show how North Carolina spends its more than $6 billion in federal stimulus money. Another, scheduled to debut this month, will feature a searchable database of state contracts and grants over $10,000.”

In Minnesota, Blue Stem Prairie lists projects in southern Minnesota that will be funded by the federal stimulus.  These projects are on the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Web site.  It is great to see state agencies listing projects being funded with stimulus on their Web sites.

In Alabama, Pros and Cons highlights Alabama’s new state spending database.   Open Alabama not only has contracts and spending but also open meetings information and a searchable lobbyist database.  This is a great site.

In Washington, Ridenbaugh posts about Washington’s new site that lets you fill out your own state budget.  Washington’s budget challenge allows citizens to see if they can balance the state’s budget.  The site makes the budget process seem a little simplistic, however, it is interesting to learn more about the programs the state is funding.  Go ahead see if you can balance a budget.

In New Jersey, Blog the Fifth writes about Rep. Garretts earmarks that he got for lobbyists who have donated to his campaign coffers.  “…Dewey Electronics received Garrett’s earmark after the Army had already informed them two years ago that they were ending the program. Garrett had received $4,500 in donations from Dewey’s executives over the years.”  Blog the Fifth ends the post by saying there might not have been anything ethically wrong with this situation, however, since the earmarks process isn’t transparent it’s impossible to tell.