Local Sunlight

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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 Oklahoma, Missouri and Hawaii.

In Oklahoma, Batesline has a quick post about the city of  Tulsa’s charter being in PDF form on their Web site.  This wasn’t alright for Beau McElhattan who made a hyperlinked HTML version of the charter and city policies and procedures.  I think everyone knows how Sunlight feels about PDFs.  Which is why I think someone taking the initiative to turn a PDF into a HTML linked document is fantastic!  It shows that this measure really isn’t hard and cities and town can do it easily if they ask someone who knows how.

In Missouri, The Turner Report has a post highlighting the relationship between bills introduced and campaign contributions given.  The Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields represents a district with casino interests, in turn, he receives a great deal of campaign donations from casinos, then he introduces pro casino legislation.  There isn’t anything wrong with this, in fact it makes sense, however Turner Report makes a good point.  This information should be public and not just for Shields but for all elected officials.  There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with pressing legislation that an interest from district wants, but it shouldn’t be hidden.

In Hawaii, Ian Lind has a post on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents possible violations of Sunshine Laws.  Apparently Hawaii’s Sunshine laws are very specific regarding closed to the public meetings.  If a public entity has a closed to public meeting they must have a schedule, detailing everything that will be discussed, available before hand.  However, the UH Board of Regents had a meeting and discussed a topic that was not on the schedule.  The Board is open to some repercussions, but this is clearly a case where the law is clear and there should be consequences.

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