Local Sunlight 4/30/09


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 Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Texas.

In Alabama, Left in Alabama highlights a scandal about Attorney General Troy King’s apparent conflict of interest.  Apparently King went to a party thrown by a developer and then three months later his office issued a legal opinion that said the developer could get a bingo permit for their upcoming project.  According to the author this isn’t the first time King has been entertained by a special interest.  Alabama Power apparently treated King to a few luxury box baseball tickets back in 2006.

Florida Politics is copying a great idea started by Aldon Hynes in Connecticut.  He created a newswire “where the various state agencies, municipalities, state legislators, advocacy organizations, etc., could send their press releases and the like.”  This is a great idea a one stop shop for public relations people to send there info and for bloggers to get it.

In Hawaii, ILind.net has a post about the two special advisories that the State Ethics Commission had.  Apparently there had been complaints filed about legislators receiving free tickets to events from non profits.  The commission advised that taking these gifts would violate state ethics laws.

Kentucky’s The Bridge, uses Party Time to keep track of  what fundraisers Congresspeople are attending.  It is a pretty decent list of where their members of Congress will be.

Pennsylvania’s Keystone Politics has two interesting stories. The first one is a post about how four elected judges in Northampton County have presided over cases that involved a donor to their election campaign. Apparently the decision for what a conflict of interest is, is left to the judges to decided, so they don’t have to recuse themselves if a donor appears before them.  This brings up whether the rules should be changed to require judges to recuse themselves if a donor is involved or if you want a favorable outcome you should make some quick campaign donations.

The second story is about former state democratic house leader Bill DeWeese who gave bonuses to his staff, who then donated that amount or close to that amount back to his campaign.

Capitol Annex, in Texas, talks about a bill that would give bloggers the same protection main stream media gets.  This allows bloggers to cover “matters of ‘public concern,’ such as legislative proceedings, school board meetings, and the actions of state officials” and not be sued for libel.  The author and a few other bloggers successfully testified, in favor of the bill, to the committee and seemed confident he received a fair hearing.