This week I have highlights from California, Hawaii, Delaware, Idaho, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico.
California Progress Report has a post about two new bills that would increase public access to campaign finance reports and lobbying records. They are being introduced by freshmen Assemblymember Alyson Huber, ” AB 1181 would require all state candidate committees, ballot measure committees and slate mail organizations to file contributors online with the Secretary of State’s office.” Apparently there is already a free online form for filing campaign donations but they are not required to file that way so they don’t. Hmmm sounds familiar. The other bill “AB 1274 would require the California Secretary of State to link reported lobbying activities to specific legislation.” I hope these bills pass because they would make California more transparent and the elected officials there more accountable.
In Hawaii, ILind.net has a post about lobbying disclosure. The State of Hawaii requires lobbyist to file expenditure report every two months and January and February were due this week. ILind observes that McDonalds Corporation, despite having an annual legislative reception, did not disclose the costs associated with it. He goes on to discuss that this could be an ommission on McDonalds side or that the requirements for disclosing need to become more stringent. Either way Hawaii needs to consider stronger enforcement procedures for lobbying disclosure.
Delaware Watch blogs about his experience meeting with Gov. Jack Markell, who went to meet bloggers at a local Panera Café. I think it is fantastic that Gov. Markell takes time to meet with bloggers and answer questions in an informal way. I hope this is a consistent event in all parts of the state.
Idaho’s Eye on Boise reports about the unanimous vote by the state senate to expand sunshine law and add the personal financial disclosure requirements. This bill is now onto the house, hopefully it will pass with as much support.
New York’s Fighting 29th has a post about Rep. Eric Massa’s decision to fight Time-Warner Cable’s broadband cap. This despite Time-Warner being a major donor. I like this post because it is a good example of why making campaign donations available in a timely manner can build trust with elected officials. Rep. Massa’s decision to not support Time Warner’s policy even though they are a major donor means that his constituents don’t see a conflict of interest and can trust him.
Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Foundation has a post about PA house republican leader Sam Smith’s 12 point government reform plan. It is a decent list of reforms that should be done to make sure elected officials are being transparent and accountable. I look forward to see how these reforms go through the legislature.
New Mexico’s Independent reports that they will soon have an online, searchable database of state government contracts, but only ones worth more than $20,000.