2Day in #OpenGov 6/20/2013

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by Carrie Tian, policy intern

NEWS:

  • The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs may be neck and neck for the NBA championship, but in the political arena, it’s a blowout. Spurs owner Peter Holt donated $500,000 during the 2012 election cycle, the vast majority going to Republicans. That’s four times as much as Heat owner Mickey Arison, who split his money between the Dems and the GOP. (Public Integrity)
  • Last year, Rhode Island’s General Assembly overhauled their Access to Public Records Act to open up new records, but now state agencies are releasing less information than in years past. The trouble is because of the “balancing test”, which asks that officials consider whether the information is a unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Police clerks across the state are redacting information about incidents, even in arrest records, which have long been public. (Providence Journal)
  • Lobbying coalitions are on the rise: these groups bring together competing companies to focus in on a specific issue, becoming a vital source of information for Congressional staff, before disbanding as soon as the legislation runs its course.  (The Hill)
  • Associated Press President Gary Pruitt blasted the DoJ’s seizure of the AP’s phone records, saying their long-standing sources have clammed up. The AP seeks DoJ acknowledgement of the right of the press to get advance notice in subpoenas of records, a federal shield law, and to formally institutionalize that no journalist will be prosecuted for doing his job. (POLITICO)
  • A new spending-data directive from the OMB mirrors the DATA Act that Congress is considering. Like the DATA Act, the OMB’s directive requires agencies to establish unique identification numbers for financial awards, though the directive is weak in that it doesn’t track awards across agencies and doesn’t apply to procurement. (FCW)
  • The powerful potato lobby is pushing for an amendment to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The USDA originally ruled that monthly WIC stipends could not be used to purchase white potatoes. A spokesperson for the National Potato Council, which wants to reverse that ruling, claims it’s not a matter of money, but rather of correcting public misperceptions about the potato’s nutritive value. (NPR)
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