Sunlight Weekly Round-up: Texas battles EPA

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The new year kicked off with some major changes in some states. For some, the initial steps of introducing new regulations may be off to a good start, but they still pose some daunting challenges. While for others, striking the balance between a totalitarian government and being answerable to their residents could create some transparency compromises. This round-up brings you the latest efforts to promote and sustain transparency by citizens and governments alike.

  • Rick Scott may have won governor of Florida but the state’s residents still want him to evaluate his environmental protection regulatory reform plans. In an open letter to the Gov-elect, Jamie Davis states that eliminating unnecessary additive state regulation to duplicative federal regulation as Scott proposes, robs Floridians of their rights. See how he urges Scott not to “surrender to EPA over-reach” on the Tenth Amendment Center.
  • A new law requiring caps on donations from Political Action Committees and political parties has been introduced in Illinois. Under the law, Individuals will donate a maximum of $5,000 per candidate per election cycle and political action committees will have a cap of $10,000. But as Andrew Thomason writes, though an attempt at curbing corruption in the struggling state, the law will now have candidates working twice as hard to ensure that donations are filed promptly. See details on the Boone County Watchdog.
  • Former FCC commissioner Nicholas Johnson questions Iowa governor Terry Branstad’s version of transparency. While urging Iowans to “follow the money” in his Press-Citizen op-ed, Johnson stresses that not having access to government data breeds corruption. As a remedy, in his “governor Branstad’s transparency” blog post, he suggests making available reports that link appropriations with legislators who voted for them. See more of his recommendations on FromDC2Iowa.
  • A newly launched website in Arizona may take the state from one of the least transparent to being among the top 10 in the nation. Openbooks.az provides fiscal information on policymakers, legislators, and taxpayers but  Byron Schlomach feels that it could use some tweaking. Check out Schlomach’s advocacy for transparency with the Goldwater Institute and his long call for monitoring government spending on the State Brief Blog.
  • An interim report released by a jury investigating corruption in Florida has recommended that candidates running for public office should get election and campaign finance law training. It also calls for the elimination of a 3-pack advertising involving a political party advertising for more than one candidate without  it being considered a political contribution. Could the ten-months investigation ordered by former governor Charlie Crist  have offered more recommendations?  Find out more  on  Lobby Comply Blog.
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