Local Sunlight 5/8/09


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, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, and New Hampshire.

In Alabama, Flashpoint has a post about the a new ethics bill in Alabama and points to and editorial in the local paper saying lawmakers are dragging their feet around it.  This bill would put a cap on how much a lobbyist can spend on a lawmaker each day.  Currently lobbyists in Alabama only have to report if they spend more than $250 a day on a lawmaker.  The new bill would put a cap on lobbying spending to $50 a day and $250 a year.

In Kentucky, Page One posted a list of companies and how much they spend on lobbying for influencing Frankfort.  The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission posts the info on their Web site.  The list is pretty interesting and you can continue looking on their site to see what other organizations are spending money to influence the state government.

Louisiana’s Between the Lines has a post about a bill coming up, “that would make officials in jurisdictions of over 5,000 people report on any contributions or loans above $1,000 they received from their political appointees.”  The author goes into why this bill might not be the best idea.  He goes into how it could be a waste of taxpayer money to process this information.   He goes on to support a different bill that would put the burden on appointees not elected officials.  He says this will not use so many state resources to support disclosure requirements which he deems as a waste of taxpayer money.

Nevada’s Desert Beacon is preparing for the upcoming vote on healthcare reform by listing all the healthcare industry donations to  Sen. Ensign.  It would also to see the Maplight.org page for Sen. Ensign when the vote comes up.

Democracy for New Hampshire has a post about upcoming legislation that would create exemptions to the state’s right to know laws.  “HB 349 is trying to exempt legislator’s e-mails from both right to know and court subpeonas; an earlier bill, HB 53, seeks to remove the secretary of state’s office (and other executive agencies) from rightto know by redefining what a “public body” is.”  How do you redefine a “public body”?  These bills seem pretty outrageous.  States should be making more available not less, let alone going to such extents as to redefine a state agency as not a public body.